1. Bob Dylan
The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
In 1967, Dylan was far off the pop-star grid: writing and recording with his ’66 road warriors in upstate New York seclusion. The rough clatter of bar-gig covers, acutely reflective ballads and apocalyptic surrealism that emerged became the greatest accidental album ever made. This box set is that season of discovery complete: Dylan in extended, pivotal rebirth as a singer, storyteller and, with the Band, collaborator. Rock’s greatest songwriter was, after a rocket ride through protest and electricity, becoming a voice for all America.
2 .The Beatles
The Beatles’ longest, most eclectic album was the last to be mixed by them in mono and issued that way — in Britain in 1968. This vinyl reissue marks its first American release, as they intended you to hear it.
3. Mike Bloomfield
From His Head to His Heart to His Hands
The late guitar hero’s friend Al Kooper curated this incisive retrospective, drawing on a lifetime of treble, grit and majesty, right up to a last, searing 1980 live show with Bob Dylan.
4. The Allman Brothers Band
The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings
In the year that rock’s hardiest improvising band finally retired, the March ’71 weekend that produced At Fillmore East was unleashed in full.
5. Chuck Berry
Rock and Roll Music — Any Old Way You Choose It
Here is rock’s Book of Genesis: 16 CDs of prime and rare Berry from 1954 to ’79. Paul McCartney wrote the liner-notes intro.
6. Sly Stone
I’m Just Like You: Sly’s Stone Flower 1969-70
After Stand!, before his 1970s free fall, Stone previewed the future of R&B — an eerie electro-hip-hop — in this brief run of funky, dynamic productions.
7. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
This sprawling account of CSNY’s ’74 tour caught America’s only true supergroup at a blazing, prolific high, making magic on the edge of chaos.
8. The Posies
The 1988 debut of this indie-power-pop duo was classicist jangle and chorales with alt-rock edge. Failure was so good that the Posies later became half of the revived Big Star.
9. The Seeds
Singles A’s and B’s 1965-1970
This L.A. band stretched the pummeling minimalism of its signature mantra, the ’66 hit “Pushin’ Too Hard,” over nearly a dozen hot, terse 45s.
10. Bob Carpenter
Carpenter’s unissued 1974 debut was a Canadian country-folk union of Nick Drake and Gram Parsons, with help from members of Little Feat. It is now rescued treasure.