Here's a playlist of Arthur Russell I put together after scouring youtube. 40 of the finest, all stuff which as far as I know is out of print or not easily available, so basically anything that I don't already own, or a different version.
The biography on AR by Tim Lawrence, Hold On To Your Dreams, has schooled me & made me aware of a lot of these recordings. It has so many accounts and anecdotes from his friends and collaborators that as well as providing an education on the downtown New York scene in the 70s&80s, it refracts a sense of how he thought & felt - open&indecisive, playful&stubborn - so that following his efforts and troubles becomes inspiring, warm, funny and horribly, overwhelmingly sad.
The man's breadth of friends and taste is unequaled, a guy that worked, played or hung out with Nicky Siano, Philip Glass, Talking Heads, Allen Ginsberg, Walter Gibbons, Rhys Chatham, John Hammond, Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, Merce Cunningham, Larry Levan, Ali Akbar Khan, Peter Gordon, Gary Lucas, Christian Wolff, and Vin Fucking Diesel.
The track the biog gets its title from illustrates this point v neatly w/ a ridiculous line-up of Holger Czukay (Can), Francois Kevorkian, Jah Wobble (Public Image Ltd), and THE EDGE. And, of course, lyrics provided by Arthur Russell. The sort of record James Murphy would invent in a dream, but no, here it is:
If yr feeling curious but lost in the face of these tunes, I'd extra-recommend Is It All Over My Face? (Male Vocal), Kiss Me Again (the 12" A side), Tell You Today, and Let's Go Swimming for kicks & bounce, but if yr browsing his more available stuff try Go Bang!#5 (Francois Kervorkian mix), A Little Lost, Eli, Lucky Cloud and Indian Ocean - Schoolbell/ Treehouse (Walter Gibbons mix). Enjoy yr swim.