Flipside's Top 31 Reissues/Compilations Of 2012

As well as being a reasonable year for new albums, re-releases were also in abundance, some ridiculously expansive (and expensive) but many doing justice to their subjects. I've picked some of my favourites here...

31 - 23 Skidoo - Seven Songs

Born out of the ethic of 'doing it yourself' and 'fuck everybody else', "Seven Songs" successfully fused atonal found-sounds, African and Far Eastern rhythms, industrial, funk (after a fashion) and the least likely and most astonishing body of work to come out of Surrey (Farnham) since John Henry Knight's cars. Calling it "Seven Songs" and filling it with eight tracks is just one example of how occasionally perverse this lot were. You get even more tracks with this pin-sharp vinyl reissue. A rare 1981 Peel Session has been included - "Retain Control" is the equal of anything found on earlier works, while "Four Note Bass" is another prime example of 23 Skidoo's unnerving mix of tension and minimalism. Also included are the full 12" versions of their debut Fetish release "Last Words" and "The Gospel According To New Guinea", the former proving that you didn't need a fancy remix to conjure up tight grooves and devastating funk. 

30 - Wim Mertens - Struggle For Pleasure

Struggle For Pleasure and Vergessen, both included here, have become a prime example of Mertens' key works. Struggle For Pleasure's six short pieces, tagged as 'modern chamber music', are a mixture of the sublime and the vigorous, ranging from lush cult chill-out classic Close Cover to the frenetic electronically-charged Salernes (named after the French district where the piece was conceived). Vergessen is also included here, originally released just prior to Struggle For Pleasure and a rather less accessible, varied and altogether more challenging listen, though no less essential. For me, the extra disc is just as essential and fields an array of must-have rarities and archive pieces that were developed, unrecorded, unfinished and shelved during the same sessions as the preceding albums. Only a sorry lack of sleeve-notes spoils this re-issue.

29 - Section 25 - From The Hip

Generally derided in the press and frequently declared as 'dreary' or 'Joy Division clones' by most music-writers in the mainstream press, Section 25 were neither, just misunderstood. Pressed on better-quality vinyl than the original 1984 Factory version, this 2012 edition in collaboration between LTM and Darla, respectfully and accurately reproduces the outer (and inner) packaging to a tee and improves the sound-mastering considerably. The bonus 12" couples the original 1984 8-minute megamix version of "Looking From a Hilltop" and the 2010 remix by New Order's Steven Morris. Add in the Factory-branded download slip (it looks like a Savillized business card) and you have the ultimate package for even the most nerdiest of train-spotting vinyl-head. An absolute must.

28 - Propaganda - Wishful Thinking and Noise and Girls Come Out To Play 

Perhaps what "Wishful Thinking" originally needed was a bit less repetition and a lot more variety. The extra 'deviations' contained here go some way towards remedying the situation with rare versions of "Strength to Dream", "Frozen Faces" and a remastered Beta Wraparound mix of P:Machinery, bringing the whole thing to 74 minutes plus. The usual ZTT-style sleevenotes from Ian Peel ensured that Salvo's 100% record of spot-on remasters continued without a hitch. Noise and Girls is essentially a round-up of previously-unissued snippets from the many different variations of Propaganda's stately singles, as well as familiar full-length and half-length versions of the obvious, such as Duel, Jewel and several extracts of Dr Mabuse that does smack of overkill by about the sixth take. A rare take on Frozen Faces also makes an appearance, giving an element of depth to a compilation that stretches even the ZTT ethos of remake, remodel and remix. Completists will, however, revel in its glory.

27 - Yazoo - The Collection

Here, budget compilers Music Club have done a good job with a duo whose output wouldn't normally stretch beyond a single disc - just two albums and a handful of singles do not an almanac make - but handy rarities and b-sides fill the gaps nicely. Both of the pair's studio-albums, give or take a couple of songs, are represented here, with the highlights predictably being the singles Only You, Don't Go (their biggest hit) and Nobody's Diary, as well as the still-massive club-hit Situation, represented here in four forms, namely the 7" original and three remixes, including both submissions by Francois Kevorkian. 

26 - Silver Apples - The Garden

Formed in the mid-'60s and comprised of two musicians, Simeon and the late Danny Taylor, the duo occupy similar territory to Can, Pere Ubu and Spaceman 3, with added oscillator (built by its founder and officially known as "The Simeon") and unconventional song-structures, bordering on the eccentric and concluding in the sublime. "The Garden" is a collection of quirky previously-lost songs recorded in the '70s and intended for release as the duo's third album. You get quality songs for your bucks with "Walkin'", a electro-bluegrass rendition of old traditional cowpoke favourite "John Hardy" and a mellotron-driven version of pub-rock's perennial blues staple, "Mustang Sally" - if only all cover-versions were this excitable. Excellent vinyl issue.

25 - X-O-DUS - English Black Boys

As well as the two Factory tracks, "See Them A-Come" and "English Black Boys", this compilation album gathers up a pile of unreleased session-tracks plus post-X-O-Dus outtakes. Although the quality wobbles in place (mainly rare demos), a swift scan through the sleevenotes and an understanding of Factory's irregular business methods explains that you are lucky to be hearing anything at all from this band's past. And thank Heavens we are. Gritty, grainy and dub-heavy reggae roots in full effect.

24 - Keith Hudson - Torch of Freedom

Keith Hudson's ability to craft bass-heavy roots rock-steady anthems cannot be questioned - just check out the title-track, the single Lost All Sense of Direction and the sombre Don't Let The Teardrops Fool You, all recorded in England at a time when Hudson was keen to make his mark as a producer, as well as a singer. Originally released on the Brent Clarke imprint Atra, Hudson's sixth album is far from faultless - tracks take nearly ten seconds to fade in, channels drop out, the overdubs occasionally don't sit with the vocals and the mix wavers hesitantly. The songs are thankfully rather more together than the mix suggests. Don't Look At Me So is a Hammond-heavy slice of love-lorn blues, while Turn The Heater On is of interest to New Order fans - the band covered the track for a Peel Session in the '80s. Newcomers, ignore the shifts in sound and crazy channeling and give this a whirl. Top sleevenotes complete the package.

23 - John Dowie - Arc of Hives

Why oh why didn't hilarious sub-grumpy Brummie surrealist John Dowie cross over to the mainstream during his heyday in the '80s? We may never know - meanwhile, Arc Of Hives pulls together his work with Factory Records, including his three segued tracks from the A Factory Sample double EP and the Radio 2-friendly (though ultimately ignored) Hard To Be An Egg single, plus his collaborative work with Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias, The Fabulous Poodles and the notorious Virgin EP issued in 1977. The 21 tracks here are complimented by the usual quality James Nice notes, as well as contributions from admirers Stewart Lee and Dave Cohen, plus a striking sleeve by Ralph Steadman.

22 - Manic Street Preachers - Generation Terrorists 

From the primordial primeval savagery of Slash 'n' Burn, through to the closing bluster of Condemned to Rock and Roll, Generation Terrorists was possessed of four seething Welshmen on a mission. Musically they resembled many bands that had riffed before - a little Generation X, a tad  Marc Bolan, a smidgeon of Saxon, some New York Dolls and a topping of The Cult perhaps, the Manics were nothing if not kings of parody. From the primordial primeval savagery of Slash 'n' Burn, through to the closing bluster of Condemned to Rock and Roll, Generation Terrorists was possessed of four seething Welshmen on a mission. Musically they resembled many bands that had riffed before - a little Generation X, a tad  Marc Bolan, a smidgeon of Saxon, some New York Dolls and a topping of The Cult perhaps, the Manics were nothing if not kings of parody. Sleevenotes from Manics biographer Simon Price are typically mellifluous and admirably honest and there's a deluxe edition awaiting your hard-earned capitalist cash.

21 - The Art of the 12" Volume 2

Not without fault, the second volume of this ongoing series compiled extended versions of tracks from the ZTT vaults, Trevor Horn's cupboards and a string of remixes touched up by all and sundry connected with the two. High points include the first CD transfer of the splendid Godley & Creme 12" of "Cry", a rare b-side rework of "Julia's Song" by OMD, extensions of superb Thomas Leer and Mint Juleps singles (the latter's cover of Robert Palmer's "Every Kinda People" is essential pop), reworks of ZTT wannabees Anne Pigalle and Nasty Rox Inc. and a string of interludes and idents lifted from numerous sources. Curiously, Scritti Politti's "Absolute" gets a nod in its theme/version/dub incarnation, but it's no bad thing.

20 - Ian McCulloch - Candleland

After Echo and the Bunnymen split for the first time in 1987, McCulloch seemed to know exactly where he was going with his solo career, somewhere personal and somewhere without the pressures of album, singles, tour and next album. He couldn't have had a better start with Candleland - released in 1989, the ten songs showed that previous wrangles with bandmates had been pretty much forgotten and that the singer's romantic and human side was finally exposed for all to see. Candleland's flame burns brightly, particularly on the title-track with Elizabeth Fraser lending her ample and graceful pipes to proceedings, the dramatic off-kilter Horses Head, the New Order-esque and clubby Faith and Healing and the album's highlight, In Bloom, the latter being nearer to McCulloch's Bunnymen years than the rest here. Also re-released at the same time are expanded editions of second-album Mysterio (6/10) and post-Warner set Slideling (7/10). The former doesn't possess much to get excited about, the latter represents Ian McCulloch's resurgence as another icon for a new generation.

19 - Fac Dance 02

After Strut's first successful attempt at rounding up the relatively obvious club nuggets from Factory's dim and distant archives, volume two seeks to scratch beneath the surface for less obvious floor-fillers. Disc one starts with A Certain Ratio's frenetic The Fox produced by Martin Hannett, with the eccemtric producer's deft touch present throughout Fac Dance 02 - on ESG's superlative hip-wiggler Moody and its less shuffly partner, You're No Good, throughout Royal Family and the Poor's gritty Vaneigem and with those unlikely disco-dancers, The Durutti Column's exemplary Self Portrait, all of which have some element of wiggle to behold. Not surprisingly, Factory's other reluctant in-house producers, New Order, are also represented on a few tracks such as 52nd Street's edgy heavily-sequenced dub-thumper Can't Afford, Nyam Nyam's Donna Summer-esque Fate, Shark Vegas (alias Mark Reeder) with their chugging synth dramatics on You Hurt Me and the ultra-rare Italian electro-funk of Surprize's In Movimento. I prescribe this impressive double CD (and vinyl) - it's Fac-ing good.

18 - Aztec Camera - High Land Hard Rain, Frestonia, Love and others

After a period of neglect, Roddy Frame's superb catalogue earned a review from Rhino/Edsel earlier this year, albeit with a few teething problems with mastering (now resolved). Of the six titles, the debut High Land Hard Rain and the swansong Frestonia are as good as it gets and show how the performer grew in stature from wide-eyed 17 year-old to accomplished and thoughtful songwriter. His third set Love gave him the hits in the late '80s, including "Somewhere In My Heart", while the other albums, with the exception of Stray which has its moments but doesn't thrill like the rest, are worthy of investigation. 

17 - Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Sexmix

ZTT's most subversive pop indulgensia were re-assembled with rare expanded mixes and unreleased sessions on this two-disc set of hard-to-find nuggets. Sexmix is a 2-CD compilation that draws material from the deep wells of ZTT and lays it out on a slab like a musical autopsy, the skin and bones of every worthy Frankie single, b-side cassingle and, ahem, cassette celebration laid bare for all to pick over. Lengthy beasts include "Rage Hard" (17-minutes), "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" (11-minutes, 21 if you add in the other contents of the corresponding cassingle) and, deep breath, a 23-minute reading of "Warriors of the Wasteland" (this release covers singles from both FGTH album-periods, by the way). Oh and you get the Sexmix version of "Relax", all 16 minutes of it. 

16 - Blur - Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife and Think Tank plus others

The multi-platinum Brit-pop evergreens received a complete catalogue overhaul from EMI, including an ultimate box-set of every ruddy album they've done and more extras than Spartacus. The individual reissues of their seven key studio albums come as double CD sets, jammed with rare b-sides and the usual essays, photos and interviews you'd expect for such an important act. Perhaps the best trio to aim for, if you can't persuade the bank to remortgage your home to buy the box, are brit-pop template Modern Life Is Rubbish, the jaunty crossover smash Parklife and 2003's rather absorbing swansong, Think Tank. An Olympic reissue program for a truly Olympic act.

15 - Fashion In Fine Style vol 1

Twenty examples of Fashion's far-reaching roster, none of whom crossed over (Smiley Culture is sadly absent here), but most are fully deserving of a place on this album. The first ten songs on here are as exemplary as it gets. Sweet lover's rock, lilting roots music, rub-a-dub riddims and some of the finest soulful voices to sing reggae, as well as top production work from Lane, Mafia & Fluxy, Steely etc. Guidance by Nereus Joseph, Let's Dub It Up by Dee Sharp, Am I The Same Girl given a smooth dancehall flava by angelically-tonsilled Winsome - these are, by turns, charming and key anthems from many an '80s dance. The album continues with super cuts by Peter Hunnigale and Dub Organiser (Chris Lane in effect), with the hilarious No Touch The Style by Joseph Cotton a sure-fire Punanny-rhythm winner and highlight on this album. 

14 - T-COY - Carino Singles

Sadly, aside from a core unit of Northern clubbers, much of T-Coy's worthwhile output remained undiscovered by anyone south of Stockport - until now. "Carino + Singles" is a must-have for any music fan keen to bridge the gap in their collection between Factory's game efforts at electro-house and Pickering's later and more successful floor-fillers, M People. Not surprisingly, lead track on "Carino + Singles" is their landmark piece, "Carino" - and so it should be. Ten minutes of Chicago-inspired hi-hats, cowbells, Latino piano and that bassline. Where T-Coy excelled though was on a few of the 12" flip-sides - pick of the bunch here are the two tunes that accompanied "I Like to Forget", namely "Catalonia" and "Da Me Mas", both of which are potent and punchy and the equal of this CD's key lead-off track. 

13 - Nyam Nyam - Hope of Heaven

Sounding all grown up, yet barely out of their teens, Nyam Nyam had potential as this superb CD reissue reveals. The album Hope Of Heaven is here in its entirety, backed up with singles, b-sides and a new song recorded in 2012. Impossible to pigeonhole, Paul Trynka's charges, to coin one of their song-titles, mined a different seam to most in their day with the singer-songwriter pitching vocally somewhere between Howard Devoto and David McComb (The Triffids), while the band used pianos, atmospherics, bass and syndrums to create reflective melancholia that complimented Trynka's dark lyrics and wavering, rustic growl. Pick up this album and immerse yourself in an urban sorrow that mercifully doesn't smack of self-indulgence.

12 - The Blue Nile - A Walk Across The Rooftops and Hats 

Despite an appalling lack of information about the creators, the songs and the recording processes involved, these long-awaited reissues still created a wave of interest among fans, critics and radio-stations. A Walk Across The Rooftops first appeared in 1984 on Linn Records, the recording arm of the Scottish ultra high-end hi-fi manufacturers of the same name, making this beautifully gloomy handful of songs an incredible 28 years old. It's aged well - much of the album makes you feel like you are perusing through a book of cherished photographs. Easter Parade, Automobile Noise and Tinseltown On The Rain form the atmospheric backbone of a formidable debut. Better follows in the shape of Hats. From the blissful and almost horizontal opener Over The Hillside, the resplendent trill of cinematic synths on The Downtown Lights and the lovelorn and lachrymal Let's Go Out Tonight, you're only three songs in and you're already witnessing musical fruition. The real highlight here is the atmospheric From A Late Night Train, a song that carries you away across sleepy mountainous landscapes on a carpet of soft piano, trumpets and Buchanan's plaintive earthy tones. 

11 - REM - Document

Document is one big, bold album - from the opening blast of Finest Worksong, you know that you are witnessing something rather special. The band made simple but effective use of studio time with producer Scott Litt (the start of a lengthy relationship) and came up with a surefire winner, both critically and financially. Look at the nuggets on here - Welcome to the Occupation, one of R.E.M.'s most understated songs ever, Exhuming McCarthy with its weirdy typewriter intro and anti-pop lyrics and global hits It's The End Of The World (and I Feel Fine) and The One I Love. Extras include an extensive biography, a poster and an additional CD which contains an entire concert recorded in 1987 in Utrecht.

10 - The Durutti Column - Short Stories For Pauline

Recorded in Brussels as a follow-up to the band's 3rd album "Another Setting", "Short Stories For Pauline" has become something of a holy-grail for Durutti Column-philes, although most, if not all, 14 tracks have appeared on numerous compilations or redux versions of Reilly's catalogue in recent years. With this collection, you get some of Vini Reilly's most creative work such as the pretty and mournful "Telephone Call", the spiky "Journeys By Vespa" and the exemplary "College" (aka "The Sea Wall", recorded with Blaine L.Reininger). A 2-CD edition appeared a few months after this now sold out and highly-collectible vinyl pressing.

9 - Simple Minds - 5X5

The stadium-rockers first five albums were rather slung together by Virgin for a budget box-set (no sleevenotes, tut tut), but 5X5 kick-started sold-out live shows devoted to what was arguably Simple Minds' most inventive era. Life In a Day is still an energetic enough debut, Real To Real Cacophony a muddle of blistering anthems ("Changeling" and "Premonition", for example) and weird ramblings, Empires and Dance majestic and their peak, Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call a sprawling mostly resplendent experience and New Gold Dream, for all the hits included, is a dated disappointment, save for the singles and the title-track. 

8 - Heaven 17 - The Luxury Gap

After last year's successful 30th anniversary reissue and tour for their debut-album Penthouse and Pavement, Heaven 17 clearly couldn't wait to get the luxury Luxury Gap package unleashed. You get the album, the extended mixes, a DVD of promos and live tracks, postcards depicting the relevant singles' sleeve-art and a poster of the sleeve. You'll know the very familiar hit Temptation by now - if not, you'll face three versions of it here, including the original 12" and the disposable Brothers in Rhythm remix issued as a single in 1992. Other notable songs include Come Live With Me, the classic near-hit Let Me Go and a couple of songs that hark back to the P&P days, Crushed By The Wheels of Industry and We Live So Fast. Luxury Gap stands proud as a prime example of what Heaven 17 were all about. Smartly-dressed music which was rough round the edges, politically aware and strong enough for repeated listening.

7 - TV Sound and Image

With the help of arch-archivist Johnny Trunk, Soul Jazz Record's Stuart Baker should be proud of this release. Two discs containing 36 tracks associated with a key-period in TV, film and library-music history, some of the most important composers of a golden era, a lavish 48-page booklet about those pioneers and not a Bond theme in sight - what's not to like? Laurie Johnson's "New Avengers Theme", "Roy Budd's pensive and beautiful "Get Carter" intro and John Barry's archetypal '60s motif for "The Persuaders" will ring memory bells, Neil Richardson's "Guide Path", James Clarke's "Folk Song" and Johnny Harris' "Fragment of Fear" probably won't. Those of a certain age will recognize the infamous '70s version of the Top of the Pops theme, courtesy of C.C.S. giving Led Zep's "Whole Lotta Love" a respectable instrumental workout. Overall, this essential compilation bodes well for any future treks into this previously much-maligned territory. Also available as two separate double-vinyl editions.

6 - The Human League - Dare

After issuing credible but non-commercial electronica for a few years, then splitting into well-documented factions of Ware and Marsh on the one side (Heaven 17) and Oakey facing the tricky task of rejigging The Human League into something like a band, all looked lost. In retrospect, it all turned out for the best. Heaven 17 went on to create a few successful albums, notch up a handful of hits and experiment with pop, politics and 'playing to win' and The Human League created Dare, arguably one of the decade's most important and globally-recognized albums. As for the extras, you get two versions of Sound Of The Crowd, two of Don't You Want Me and instrumentals of Open Your Heart/Non-Stop, glued to the end of the Dare disc, while the second CD gathers up tracks from Mirror Man and (Keep Feeling) Fascination, as well as instrumentals of Love Action/Hard Times. As music, most of the songs stand up, in particular You Remind Me Of Gold (recently covered by Darkstar) and Fascination. Clumsy tracklisting aside, the box does the album justice.

5 - Everything But The Girl - Eden, Idlewild and 2 others 

EBTG issued seven albums of clean adult pop-soul with occasionally indifferent consistency and quality. Arguably, the first four were perhaps the most essential and it's that quartet that Rhino have reassessed, repackaged and re-promoted for this initial batch of 2012 reissues. If you're feeling flush, try and pick up all four of these albums before the next inevitable reissue programme for the less-essential '90s output kicks in - Eden, the duo's first is a great place to start with the likes of "Each and Every One" and strong album-tracks such as "Bittersweet", "Tender Blue" and "Fascination" included in the mix, while their under-rated fourth Idlewild with the perky "These Early Days", the languid "I Always Was Your Girl" and Rod Stewart cover "I Don't Want To Talk About It" the key tracks chosen as singles. The extra discs are crammed with b-sides and other sweeteners.

4 - Colourbox - Colourbox

Forgotten electro-beats and sampling wizards were finally given a long overdue box-set overview by 4AD this year with just about everything ever recorded by the group assembled here across four discs, minus MARRS' "Pump Up The Volume", the #1 hit collaboration with AR Kane and the Abstract Magazine mix of "Manic". Disc 1 features their self-titled debut (and only) album, Disc 2 is predominantly comprised of 7", b-sides and rarities, such as minimalist chill-out homage "Philip Glass", "Hot Doggie" (from the "Lonely is an Eyesore" compilation), "Keep On Pushing", "Shadows in the Room" and the hard-to-find edits of both released versions of "Breakdown" and "Tarantula", Disc 3 also delivers the required goods in extended forms, including the fantastic speaker-rumbling reggae-bassweight of "Baby I Love You So", its lengthy dubbed-out flipside, "Looks Like We're Shy Horse"/"Shoot Out", which borrows dialogue from "Once Upon a Time in the West" and their bonkers (and failed) attempt to get on the BBC with "Official Colourbox World Cup Theme" and finally Disc 4 rounds up the debut 1983 12" EP, an extended version of "Arena" and several BBC session tracks recorded for Kid Jensen from 1982-84. Excellent stuff.

3 - Hacienda 30

2012 marked the 30th anniversary of the opening of Manchester's legendary Hacienda (and the 15th anniversary of its closure). These three discs celebrate the recent celebrations held in and around the city, including an underground rave in the car-park of the apartments now standing where the superclub once operated. Disc 1 is Graeme Park's baby and features upfront UK and US garage and uplifting house, Mike Pickering takes up the knobs on disc two and edges it with a ripe selection of UK bleep, Chicago house and deeper techno that ranges from Sweet Exorcist's killer Testone, Hashim's must-have Al-Naafyish and Pickering's own T-Coy delivering Carino with Peter Hook rounding things off with the likes of student-night staples Raze, De'Lacy, New Order, The Stone Roses, Robin S and Happy Mondays. Essential stuff.

2 - Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks

For those that have followed the Sex Pistols' fame, fortune and flagrant disregard for authority, you could be forgiven for presuming that there couldn't possibly be any more to squeeze out of the vaults. The new owners of the Pistols' catalogue Universal (since January 2012), were out to prove the doubters wrong with a multi-disc format that made the recent Pink Floyd treasure-chest look like a milk-carton. This edition contains a 2012 remaster of the classic album by original producer Chris Thomas, a second disc of 1977 studio rarities, b-sides and odd sods that will include the now-infamous "Belsen Was a Gas" demo and six tracks from the original untouched Spunk bootleg, a third CD of high-end 1977 live material, most of it unissued, plus a DVD that will contain rare and unseen live performances, promos and interviews, including the Heyday tapes that appeared on cassette on Factory and CD on LTM. Superlative. 

1 - Philadelphia International Tom Moulton Mixes and Philadelphia International Re-Edits

Disco gurus Tom Moulton and Gamble & Huff were assembled in four disc treasure-trove of PI's greatest hits, alongside a parallel double-disc release featuring contemporary re-edits of more cracking smashes, both familiar and obscure. Chronologically gathered and presented in a smart card box, "Philadelphia International Classics" is a superlative clutch-bag of candid disco-dandies and sassy swingin' ladies all belting out classics such as "Love is the Message" by MFSB, the glorious opening track here, "Backstabbers" by The O'Jays, "When Will I See You Again" by Three Degrees and "Don't Leave Me This Way" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, all given an extended reworking by Tom Moulton. The Red-Edits album is almost as timeless - from the opening Morning Star version of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes' "Satisfaction Guaranteed", through the top-drawer J-Ski (alias compiler of this collection, Jay Negron) refix of "Only The Strong Survive" by the legendary Billy Paul, the boss rendering of McFadden and Whitehead's glorious "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" by The Noodleman, right up to The O'Jays' "Message In Our Music" (clipped by Jimmy the Twin), you can't but help bathe in the splendour of this music. 

Here's to 2013! (NB - Can's Lost Tapes would have made this list if I'd heard it earlier than Christmas Day...)