Ahhh, the holidays! A time to open all those gift-wrapped boxes. And for music fans, boxes mean one thing: box sets. Last year, the big packages everybody wanted to see under the tree were by this little quartet called The Beatles - the Stereo Box and In Mono releases were the toppermost of the poppermost. Now that the whole Fab Four kit and kaboodle is available on iTunes, you can easily give that special someone a digital gift card. But still, it's just not the same thing as owning a piece of music, the physical item, to say nothing of gazing at the accompanying photos or reading liner notes.
Luckily, 2010 brought with it a bounty of packages for those who believe that thinking 'inside the box' isn't such a bad idea. And some of the offerings even came with this newfangled thing called vinyl. Get a load of this: it's a round black doo-hingy with a bunch of scratches on it. And if you put one of these deals on a gizmo that spins round and round and set a big ol' needle on it, well, guess what? Music plays! Holy smokes - what'll they think of next? You know, we wouldn't mind seeing that little Beatles band slappin' some of their tunes on those vinyl thingamajigs. Could catch on.
Till that day, however, let's open up our Christmas menu of box sets and see what might make your loved one say, "You shouldn't have...But I'm glad you did!" We'll start off with...
The Apple Records Box Set
If you thought Apple Records was home to just The Beatles, think again: The Fabs and their crew signed a wide range of artists during the company's short run, and in this 17-CD package we have gems from acts such as Badfinger (Straight Up, No Dice), Mary Hopkin (Postcard), Billy Preston (That's The Way God Planned It) and James Taylor (his eponymous debut), just to name a few.
There's even a couple of releases from The Modern Jazz Quartet, a personal favorite of then-A&R head Peter Asher (from Peter And Gordon fame). A fantastic time capsule.