Y'all can quibble over whether this is a reissue or merely a lucky unearthing (Baier's only real, official release was a song in a Wim Wenders film - these recordings were apparently only heard by a lucky few friends and family), but these early-70s songs by Baier, recorded in her home in Germany on reel-to-reel, are gracefully simple, haunting and almost too contemporary-sounding to be true (not unlike Big Star's 3rd in terms of being ahead of its time). Just add the sepia cover and wallow in wistful nostalgia all afternoon.
Stream - At MySpace
4. Karen Dalton - In My Own Time (Light in the Attic) (buy it)
There's an unlikely rush of new versions of "Katie Cruel" (Bert Jansch also has a version on his new album) but this is likely one of the best. The late Dalton's voice (praised by Dylan as akin to Billie Holiday's) practically duets with the violin. While the rest of the disc doesn't rise to these heights, her voice has a beautiful raggedness to it throughout that makes vocorders run and hide. Fine liners by Lenny Kaye (a critical part of a good reissue) make this a must-purchase.
MP3: Karen Dalton - Katie Cruel
3. Tim Hardin - 3 Live in Concert (Lilith) (buy it)
I've gushed enough about this incredible recording, with Hardin walking the tightrope, likely high, playing a pawned guitar, with unfamilar but ace jazz musicians, running through all his greatest songs to a rapt NYC audience. Even though the liner notes are in Russian on this reissue, it's an easy, inexpensive and excellent-sounding way to get this show.
2. Wayfaring Strangers - Ladies from the Canyon (Numero Group) (buy it)
This crate-dug collection of female folksingers from the 60s and 70s yields all sorts of treasures, along with fascinating liner notes on what happened (or what's unknown) about all 14. Many of these records emerged from school and church youth projects, lending the proceedings an eerie innocence. This track is from Mary Perrin, an influence on Karen Carpenter, who died in 2003.
1. John Phillips - John, the Wolfking of L.A. (Varese Sarabande) (buy it)Another disc I've already sung the praises of. Let's just say, though, that knowing the Mamas and the Papas output does not prepare you for the self-doubting autobiography and Cali-country tunes contained herein. Elvis wanted to cover one of these songs, people (his manager wouldn't let him). If you only buy one reissue this year...
What reissues were y'all thankful for this year?