Which vinyl albums do you wish would be reissued? Check out the latest Ask the Critic questions and post your own

By David Browne
February 14, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Neil Young

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Which vinyl albums do you wish would be reissued?

Which long-lost albums from the vinyl era that have never seen the light of day on CD do you wish would be reissued? — Brian
One comes instantly to mind: Neil Young’s Time Fades Away, his defiantly ragged 1973 concert album. Due to technical difficulties — the way it was recorded, live to tape — the LP wasn’t included in the recent batch of Young CD reissues, and that’s a true shame — its jangled-nerve rockers and lost-soul ballads need to be heard again (note: Wilco fans, it’s a precursor of sorts to a ghost is born). And where, oh, industry lawyers and gate-keepers, are lost gems like Warren Zevon’s The Envoy and Nils Lofgren’s Nils? Or the dB’s’ Like This and Tim Buckley’s Blue Afternoon and Starsailor (all three of which were briefly available on CD but fell out of print)? We’ve waited long enough.

Why do you think acts like the Roots, Angie Stone, and other [neo-soul] critics’ faves struggle selling records? — Sam
Your use of the phrase ”critics’ faves” says it all. On albums by those and other neo-soul, anti-thug acts, like Bilal and Van Hunt, what many writers respond to is the emphasis on old-school soul singing and instrumental chops, which connote authenticity and credibility. The general public admires those things too, but it puts an equal emphasis on something just as powerful: super-hooky songs that have both a groove and a sharp melody. Alas, few of the R&B revivalists have come up with enough of those to put them over in the marketplace. There’s a reason John Legend has made a greater impression than Stone and the Roots: ”Ordinary People,” a simple, effective, and straight-on ballad that stays with you long after it ends.

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Neil Young

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