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The best newly issued archival music: Part 1

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Vault plundering is still a big business for the music industry. As record labels and artist estates explore new revenue streams, archives are scoured for releasable tapes, resulting in a wealth of newly spiffed up catalog titles and specialty commemorative releases.

This is part one of our two-part sampling of some of the high-profile offerings due to be liberated from the archives over the next two months (and a couple that are out now).

The Who“Live at the Fillmore East 1968” (MCA; out now)

A popular bootleg finally saw official release 50 years and two weeks after rock’s most combustible band performed two shows at the legendary Bill Graham-curated New York City music venue. This 3-LP/2-CD set is vastly superior to the scratchy unauthorized version leaked in the early ‘70s. Recorded during a weird time in The Who’s history (financial woes and infighting nearly broke them up in these pre-“Tommy” days), the freshly mixed April 6 show is incendiary and illuminating. The 33-minute version of “My Generation” on disc two goes off the rails but it’s great to have aural proof of its existence.

Frank Sinatra“Standing Room Only” (Frank Sinatra Enterprises/Capitol/Ume; out now)

A 3-CD set consisting of mostly unreleased live Sinatra in the form of three complete concerts recorded over three decades. Sinatra and Count Basie recorded live at The Sands in Las Vegas on January 28, 1966 (second show) occupies the first disc. A previously unreleased show from the Philadelphia Spectrum (October 7, 1974) captures Sinatra less than a week before his “Main Event” ABC special. His acclaimed Dallas Reunion Arena concert from October 24, 1987 appears on disc three.

Jerry Garcia“Before The Dead” (Round/Caroline; May 11)

Produced by longtime Grateful Dead publicist and biographer Dennis McNally (a childhood resident of Dexter, Maine) this 4-CD/5-LP set contains Jerry Garcia’s earliest known recordings from 1961-1964. Originating from the period before he cofounded the Dead, Garcia, a ravenous fan of bluegrass and jug-band music, played and recorded with a variety of likeminded musicians during this time. Two more Dead-related titles are scheduled for this summer, including a June 1 release for the 3-CD set “Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 2 – April Fools’ ‘88” (recorded in New Jersey on March 31 and April 1, 1988) and a 50th anniversary two-disc deluxe edition of the band’s second album, “Anthem of the Sun,” on June 13.

Otis Redding“Dock of the Bay Sessions” (Rhino/Atlantic; May 18)

Before his death in a Wisconsin plane crash on December 10, 1967, Otis Redding was moving into new territory. At the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of that year, Otis & the MGs provided director D.A. Pennebaker with one of rock’s greatest filmed segments. Inspired by The Beatles’ boundless creativity, Redding went back to the studio that fall with an idea for an album of carefully composed pop, rock and soul songs. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was one of them. Written with guitarist Steve Cropper, it became the first posthumously-released single by any artist to hit number one. Other songs recorded during those sessions (including “Love Man” and “Hard to Handle”) have been gathered together for the first time on this collection, being promoted as “the first to show what might have been” with regard to Redding’s next album.

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