The Kinks,"The Journey Part 1" (BMG)- Quite a few Kinks anthologies have appeared on the market over the years, but this 2 CD set has the unusual distinction of having been compiled by the band themselves. Instead of assembling the usual parade of hits they have opted to celebrate their sixtieth anniversary by regaling listeners with a fascinating assortment of bona fide classics, album tracks and unmerited obscurities from their first decade or so together, as they take a richly rewarding ramble down memory lane. This inventive approach shines a welcome spotlight on seemingly long forgotten gems such as “Last of the Steam Powered Trains,” “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” and “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” which sit snugly here alongside “Celluloid Heroes,” “Days” and Ray Davies’ iconic 1967 creation,”Waterloo Sunset.” Part 2 is scheduled to follow later this year, and should be well worth investigating too.

Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors,”Strangers No More” (Magnolia Music)- Drew Holcomb has spent much of the past two decades in an admirable attempt to spread the word on behalf of the musical culture of the American South, attracting a good deal of critical acclaim in the process. His albums have also become something of a fixture in the higher reaches of the Billboard charts since “Good Light” appeared on the scene in 2013 , and “Strangers No More” seems destined to enjoy a similar fate as it delivers another highly memorable vehicle for Drew’s instantly likeable brand of roots music. It’s arguably his most expansive and wide ranging offering to date too, with contents which run the gamut from the life enhancing “Dance With Evetybody” to very successful flirtations with Springsteen tinged rock such as “On A Roll” and “Possibility.”

Ally Venable,”Real Gone” (Ruf Records)-The future of the blues will be in safe hands as long as there are performers like Ally Venable around to spread the gospel with such power and passion. The Texan singer,guitarist and songwriter made her recording debut seven years ago at the precociously early age of 16, and it’s a measure of the esteem in which she’s now held by members of the blues fraternity that her latest album, “Real Gone,” should boast guest appearances by luminaries such as Joe Bonamassa and the great Buddy Guy, who is captured in sparlking form on one of the stand-out tracks here, “Texas Louisiana.”