Bob Marley and The Wailers,”Catch A Fire (50th Anniversary Edition) ” (Island Records)- This nicely packaged 3 CD set serves up an expanded version of the trailblazing 1972 album which helped to establish Bob Marley as a major creative talent and brought the distinctive delights of reggae to the attention of the mainstream rock fraternity for the very first time. The fascinating bonus tracks on offer here include extended versions of Wailers’ gems such as “Slave Driver” and “400 Years” and the first official release of the live recording of the group’s concert at London’s Paris Theatre in May 1973. Half a century later reggae seems to have slipped back into the shadows once again , but “Catch A Fire” remains one of the most vital and compelling collections that have been produced in this or any other genre.

Stackridge,”Mr.Mick” (Esoteric / Cherry Red)- The recording and release of this ambitious concept album from amiable West Country prog rock merchants Stackridge was fraught with difficulties before it finally appeared on the market in seriously truncated form in 1976. The original version of the “Mr.Mick” had featured a story and narration penned by children’s author Steve Augarde but Rocket Records rejected it out of hand and the track listing had to be totally rejigged before they would allow it to finally see the light of day. The album was critically well received nonetheless but solid record sales were disappointing and ,worn down by the whole experience, Stackridge sadly gave up the ghost soon afterwards. This expanded CD re-issue from the good people at Cherry Red also finds space for the original, unreleased version of the album, leaving listeners to decide which of the two competing artistic conceptions they prefer.

Status Quo,”Official Archive Series Vol.2 – Live in London” (earMUSIC)- The latest addition to this fine series of curated live recordings focusses attention on Quo’s gig at London’s O2 Arena in December 2012. This momentous event marked long serving drummer Matt Letley’s final UK appearance with the band as they indulged in a rabble rousing jaunt down memory lane which drew on perennial crowd pleasers such as “Roll Over Lay Down,” “Whatever You Want” and “Rockin’ All Over The World” to name but a few. Quo also injected a little Christmas spirit into the proceedings with a seasonal medley featuring “Walking In A Winter Wonderland,” “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and their own “It’s Christmas Time.”