The B List: 10 Best Archival Releases of 2010

Our look at the best releases of the year continues with an annual traditional around these parts that we don’t see elsewhere – a list of the best archival releases from the past 12 months. These are all albums which feature music (mostly live tracks) that was pulled from the artists’ archives and had never been officially released until 2010.

This year was another great one for archival releases as a number of bands kicked off new series (String Cheese Incident and Gov’t Mule) and many other acts kept releases for older series (Road Trips, Live Phish, Barko-Swill Zappa, Bootleg Series) flowing. I’ve included releases which feature both CDs and DVDs on our Best Concert DVDs of 2010 list, so don’t expect to see them here. Also, a release must feature music at least five years old to qualify for this list. Enough of the small talk, let’s get down to business…

10. Grateful Dead – Road Trips Vol. 3, No. 3

2010 was another banner year for Grateful Dead archival releases and my favorite of the bunch was Road Trips Vol. 3 No. 3 featuring most of the Dead’s early and late shows at the Fillmore East on May 15, 1970. Forty years after Workingman’s Dead came out, this release gives a look into where the band was at this important time in their history and contains a number of acoustic gems that have never been included on an official release before.

Where You Can Sample This Release: Dead.Net Listening Party

READ ON for Scotty’s top nine archival releases of 2010…

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The B List: 10 Favorite Grateful Dead Books

[Originally Published March 26, 2009]

I’ll never forget the day late Grateful Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland passed away in 1990. I was playing hockey at Camp Westmont when a bunkmate’s brother came down the hill to tell us Brent had died. Now, I’ll be honest – I didn’t know a thing about the band at the time, but I wanted to find out. One of my Deadhead counselors turned me onto David Gans and Peter Simon’s well-written biography of the band, Playing in the Band, and I was immediately fascinated by the history of the band.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve read a number of books on the Grateful Dead and some are spectacular and some aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. The latest tome on the band – Peter Conners’ Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead – is available now at and in honor of what looks to be a terrific addition to a Deadhead’s bookshelf, I’ve put together a list of my ten favorite books on the band…

10. Skeleton Key – David Shenk, Steve Silberman

I’ll never forget David & Steve’s book as the first time I ever saw the phrase 4:20. Skeleton Key offers bite-sized tidbits on phrases that are part of the Deadhead vocabulary – such as 4:20 – among its 400 pages of history, lore, and interviews about the band.

READ ON for nine more of Scotty’s favorite books on the Dead…

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The B List: 10 Classic Clavinet-Fueled Songs

From the first time I heard Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground and Superstition, I’ve always been a huge fan of the clavinet. This electric keyboard manufactured by the Hohner company produces a funky sound that adds plenty of life to any song in which it is used. Since its introduction in the ’60s, the clav has been used in dozens of classic rock, funk, disco and reggae songs. It’s even turned up in the setup of many jamband keyboard players including JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic and Page McConnell of Phish.

This week’s B List looks at the ten best clav-fueled songs from the ’60s and ’70s. Part two of our look at the clavinet will focus on more modern tracks that use this keyboard, but that’s for a later date.

For now, let’s look at ten classic clavinet-fueled songs…

10. Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder

When most people hear the traditional clavinet sound, they think of Stevie Wonder’s work on both Higher Ground and Superstition. Without a doubt, Stevie put this keyboard on the map. Above, we’ve got a clip of Stevie and Wonder Love tearing it up live in 1973.

READ ON for nine more classic clavinet-fueled songs…

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The B List: The Best Concert DVDs of 2009

[Originally Published: December 24, 2009]

Making a list of the Best Concert DVDs of 2008 was a struggle, because there weren’t many quality releases to choose from. This year, we have the opposite problem as there were tons of terrific Concert DVD releases.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Best Concert DVDs of 2009…

10. Arcade Fire – Miroir Noir


Arcade Fire fans were thrilled when the band announced they would be releasing a concert film chronicling the recording of Neon Bible and the subsequent tour. Unfortunately, director Vincent Morisset works so hard at not being a typical concert film that the documentary, which appears to be shot by cell phone cameras at points, isn’t all that entertaining. The bonus material makes Miroir Noir worth owning and earns it a spot on this list.

9. Return to Forever – Live at Montreux 2008


Legendary jazz fusion supergroup Return to Forever reunited in 2008 and this DVD gives a good illustration of how good this group of musicians continues to be. Filmed in Montreux, Return to Forever Returns contains a nice of mix of tunes from all of their albums played with passion and verve.

READ ON for the rest of our list of Best Concert DVDs of 2009…

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The B List: Top 10 Archival Releases of 2009

While this decade may have been tough for the recording industry, music fans can’t complain about the number and quality of the hundreds of archival releases that have flown out of the vaults since 2000. Record labels realize that there’s plenty of money to be made after the comparatively negligible cost of mixing and digitizing these old releases.

2009 was another fantastic year for live archival releases as we’ve seen massive box sets from the likes of Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Grateful Dead that featured impressive recordings of high-caliber performances. Let’s take a look at Hidden Track’s Top 10 Archival Releases of 2009…

10. Widespread Panic – Huntsville ’96

wsp huntsvill 1996

The Widespread Panic Archives opened wide in 2009 after years and years of fan requests for older material to be released. Carbondale 2000 started the action last year, Valdosta 1989 came next followed closely by Huntsville 1996 and Montreal 1997. Out of the three that were released this year, Huntsville ’96 stands out due to Panic’s spine-tingling performance of an incredible setlist as well as the quality of the recording.

Where You Can Sample This Release: WSP Archives Blog

READ ON for the rest of our list of the top archival releases of 2009…

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Glide’s 4th Annual Best of 2006: From the Artists’ Perspective

Everyone makes their standard "best of's," top 10s" and "year in review" lists, but each December we like to take that model a couple of steps further. We go straight to the artists to see where they found inspiration over the past twelve months, and we don't stop with just album choices. We dig a bit deeper and go for a broader picture of the past year in art. From classic moments on the road to their guilty pleasure confessions, this is a panoramic snapshot of "the best of 2006," and a peek into what to expect in '07.

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The Glide 20 From 2006: The Year’s Best Albums

On the surface, with iPods selling in the millions, downloads becoming more and more accessible, and even the actual coining of the moniker, 'The MySpace Generation,' 2006 may appear to be a relatively quiet year for the album. But taken as a whole, it was actually another solid year for LP releases. Sure, there were less blockbusters and a few too many prematurely hyped 'next best thing' mp3s, but when we sat down to go over the piles of CDs, there were more than enough quality titles that had to be reluctantly voted off the island. What we ended up with was a list that offered a little bit of everything – a blurring of genres and styles, featuring artists who created definitive statements – easily identifiable as 2006, but timeless all the same.

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The Slip: Eisenhower

While Eisenhower may eventually prove to be just another step in a larger, ongoing Slip journey, it proves to be the band's monumental achievement nonetheless. Not so much for it’s distinction from previous efforts, but for proving that a fledging band that debuted with such spark could persevere, and ultimately, a decade later, change the way you look at rock.

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