WRITTEN BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
It’s that time of year when you realize you have no idea what to get that music lover in your life for the holidays.
Thankfully, Rock Music Menu is here to help with the daunting task of what to put in the stocking, under the tree or in the mail for the lucky ones on your list that has hopefully been checked twice.
Keep your eye on this spot for the next few weeks, as I’ll have a variety of products that are hot this year. This week, let’s look at some of the box sets that have come out in recent months.
The Rolling Stones in Mono
For the first time ever, all the mono studio recordings released by the Rolling Stones in the 1960s are available in one unique historic collection. The 16 LP vinyl and 15 CD box sets of ‘The Rolling Stones in Mono’ as well as Standard Digital, mastered for iTunes and True HD have been put out by ABKCO Records. The collection contains a total of 186 tracks, 56 of which have never before been heard in mono since the advent of the digital age. Spanning the years from 1963 through 1969, the set features seminal Stones. Works like ‘Let It Bleed,’ ’12 x 5’ and the US and UK editions of ‘Out of Our Heads’ and ‘Aftermath.’
‘The Early Years: 1965 — 1972’
This 27-disc box set contains TV recordings, BBC Sessions, unreleased tracks, outtakes and demos over an incredible 12 hours, 33 mins of audio — made up of 130 tracks — and over 15 hours of video. There are 20 unreleased songs including seven hours of previously unreleased live audio, plus seven hours of rare concert footage, along with meticulously produced 7 inch singles in replica sleeves, collectable memorabilia, feature films and new sound mixes. Previously unreleased tracks include 1967’s “Vegetable Man” and “In The Beechwoods” which have been newly mixed for the release.
‘The Album Collection’
In commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the release of Elvis Presley’s first album for RCA Records, Legacy Recordings has released ’Elvis Presley — The Album Collection,’ a monumental 60-disc limited edition box set anthology. Included are album titles recorded by Elvis and released by RCA during the artist’s lifelong association with the label. The deluxe set features Elvis’s fabled Sun Sessions, recorded 1954 and 1955 at Sun Studio in Memphis, prior to Presley’s signing with RCA, his first RCA sessions from January of 1956, and significant official album releases including studio, soundtrack and live titles in addition to compilations featuring unreleased songs or tracks new to the LP format.
Original album packaging has been meticulously restored for each of the discs included in ‘The Album Collection.’ Details include gatefold and die cut sleeves, original RCA Victor inserts and stickers, CD labels replicating original Side 1 labels and more. The lavish collector’s box also includes a 300-page, fully illustrated hard cover book featuring commentary penned by Elvis Presley scholar John Jackson, discographies and recording session details like dates, locations and personnel.
‘The Complete BBC Sessions’
Led Zeppelin fans that were bummed out when the expansive reissue and expanded edition campaign of the band’s studio albums came to an end last year can rest easy as guitarist Jimmy Page is still digging through the vaults. Nearly 20 years ago, Led Zep introduced ‘BBC Sessions,’ an acclaimed two-disc set of live recordings selected from the band’s appearances on BBC radio between 1969 and 1971. Now, an updated version of the collection that’s been newly remastered with supervision by Jimmy Page and expanded with eight unreleased BBC recordings, including three rescued from a previously “lost” session from 1969 has been made available and dubbed ‘The Complete BBC Sessions.’
Highlights of the set, available in a variety of vinyl and digital configurations, include the debut of a long-lost radio session that has achieved near-mythic status among fans. Originally broadcast in April 1969, the session included three songs: “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” “You Shook Me,” and the only recorded performance of “Sunshine Woman.”
‘The Mono Collection’
The Mono Collection packages the first eight Kinks albums in glorious mono, including ‘Live At Kelvin Hall.’ The set also includes the bonus double LP compilation ‘The Kinks’ — aka ‘The Black Album’ — as well as a lavish hardcover 48-page book including never-before-seen photos and new interviews with Ray Davies, Dave Davies and Mick Avory. From the garage guitar snarls of “You Really Got Me”, “All Day And All of The Night” and “I Need You”, the melodic swirls throughout “Autumn Almanac” and “Days” to the bold brass of “Victoria” and “Shangri-La,” the full spectrum of The Kinks in Mono is sure to thrill fans old and new.
‘Who Can I Be Now? [1974 — 1976]’
This 12 CD box, 13-piece vinyl set and digital download features the material officially released by Bowie during the so-called “American” phase of his career from 1974 to 1976 and is the follow-up to Parlophone’s award-winning box set, ‘David Bowie — Five Years [1969 — 1973].’ Exclusive to each of the box sets is the previously unreleased as a complete album ‘The Gouster’ that was recorded at Sigma Sound in Philadelphia in 1974 and produced by Tony Visconti. The album was mixed and mastered before Bowie decamped to New York to work with John Lennon on what became the ‘Young Americans’ album.
Included in the set is a hardback book, the highlight of which is a hand-written note by David Bowie pertaining to the original intended content of ‘The Gouster.’ The CD box set will include faithfully reproduced mini-vinyl versions of the original albums and the CDs will be gold colored rather than the usual silver.
To contact music columnist Michael Christopher, send an email to email@example.com. Also, check out his blog at www.delcotimes.com