Artist: Various Artists Album: Oxford American Southern Music CD #9

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Perhaps the best compilation I've ever heard - in part because it has about 21 songs I've never heard - comes from the people at Oxford American, the magazine that glorifies and documents Southern American cultural writing.

Soul, pop, rock, bluegrass, country and more, often resurrected from deep within vaults, are contained on this 26-track masterpiece. Upon first listen, you will be surprised (damn, this stuff is good) and befuddled (how have I never heard it before?).

A teaser from the magazine homepage:

Scott Barretta writes about the most incarcerated band in America; William Bowers on the befuddling Mayo Thompson; Anthony Mariani on the true progenitors of punk; Holly Gleason on the bedraggled, sharkskin-slick Dwight Yoakam; Aaron Cohen on the creepy, morbidly sweet songs of Percy Mayfield; Amanda Petrusich on the M.I.A. funk diva Betty Davis; Alex Cook on the open-wound genius of Daniel Johnston; Ben Greenman on the redemptive soul of Eldridge Holmes. John Jeremiah Sullivan on the awkward sublimity of the Roches...

Order it right now.