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Box Sets - Ozzy Osbourne, Freddie Mercury and more

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You can't always tear right into a holiday gift that someone gives you; circumstances often dictate that you wait until a certain day or hour, or until certain folks arrive to watch you open it. In that case there's always the question; "Gee, I wonder what's in the box?" If music is on your wish list and you're hoping to receive a fancy box set, you're in luck. We're going to tell you right here just exactly what's in a bunch of this season's most-wanted box sets.

Ozzy Osbourne - See You on the Other Side

Holiday Gift Guide- Box Sets

This is the most comprehensive box of Ozzy's material on vinyl ever. All 15 of Osbourne's solo releases are included, each hand-pressed on 150-gm multi-colored splatter vinyl. A 16th album of rarities called Flippin' the B Side is also included; it features a dozen cuts like "Don't Blame Me," "Spiders," "Voodoo Dancer" and "Walk on Water." Also in the box are a 7" Flexi Disc with an unreleased demo version of "See You on the Other Side," 10 newly-designed posters, a dozen Augmented Reality experiences, and wow, a numbered vellum certificate signed by Ozzy himself. That's enough to make Ozzy fans bark at the moon!

Freddie Mercury - Never Boring
Whether with Queen or with his solo work, Freddie Mercury was certainly never boring; the title to this set is derived from a Mercury quote, "You can do anything with my work but never make me boring." To the credit of this set's compilers (which includes the co-producer of the "Bohemian Rhapsody" film) Never Boring is an exciting collection that Freddie no doubt would have approved of. The set's three CDs hold the 2012 special edition of Barcelona featuring full orchestra, a newly-mixed special edition of Mr. Bad Guy and a new 12-track compilation of Mercury's greatest solo performances ("Love Kills," while billed as a solo recording, actually features Mercury's cohorts in Queen, Roger Taylor, Brian May and John Deacon). Also included are a DVD and Blu-ray featuring 13 promotional videos and a 120-page hardback book.

Down in Jamaica: 40 Years of VP Records - Various Artists
VP Records is the world's largest reggae label and here, on the occasion of the imprint's 40th anniversary, is an amazing set that'll keep fans feelin' irie for hours and hours. The collection features a whopping 101 different artists including Dennis Brown, Yellowman, Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, Bounty Killer, Tenor Saw, Echo Minott and dozens of others. Included are four 7" singles, four 12" singles and 4 CDs; the CDs present the selected songs in chronological order while the vinyl pieces all resurrect rare and long out of print titles. A 24-page booklet and "art cards" detailing the songs and their place in VP Records history are also included. Limited copies available.

Underworld - Drift Series 1
Acclaimed UK-based electronic pioneers Underworld began the Drift project on Nov. 1, 2018 and completed the experiment exactly one year later. Needless to say the duo (Karl Hyde and Rick Smith) got a lot done in those 52 weeks, so much so that it takes seven discs to hold it all (available on vinyl, CD or as a download). Adding to the fun of Drift Series 1 is a Blu-ray presentation and an 80-page booklet. For those who miss out on getting the box set, a one-disc sampler appropriately-titled Drift Series 1 Album Sampler is also available. You might think that after such a massive project that Underworld would be taking a rest; nope, they're working on Drift Series 2.

The Staples Singers - Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection
Here's a big box of sweet soul and gospel music from one of the most-revered groups to ever record for the equally-revered Stax Records. A vinyl collection, the box includes all six albums the group recorded for Stax along with a bonus disc featuring singles, live cuts and more. Famous message songs like "Long Walk to D.C.," covers of cuts like the Band's "The Weight" and Sly Stone's "Everyday People" and big hits "I'll Take You There" and "Respect Yourself" are all included. The bonus rarities disc holds five live cuts from the Wattstax album as well as hard to find cuts like "Trippin' on Your Love" and "Oh La De Da." A deluxe booklet featuring archival photos and new liner notes accompanies the music.

The Fall - Box of Ten #2
The follow-up to the Fall's Set of Ten box set, this collection features a motherlode of live material compiled on 10 CDs. Chronologically beginning with sets recorded in 1984 in Hanover and New York City, the included shows progress to gigs in Motherwell, Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Cork, Nantes, Dublin and Nimes (2 shows) recorded from 1996 to 2014. All material is previously-unreleased. Group founder and front man Mark E. Smith passed away in 2018. Very limited copies available.

Rick Wakeman - Box of Boots: Set of 10 Live CDs - Official Bootleg Series
He's an author, a television personality and a consummate musician who has released 90 (!) solo albums, but Wakeman is probably still best remembered as the on-again, off-again keyboardist for prog rock legends Yes. What he's done here is not only compile some great live material for his fans, but also taken under his control some of the bootleg material that's been circulating for year. Now fans can own cleaned-up and nicely-packaged versions of these bootlets, going back to an American show in 1974 through to two Japanese shows that took place in 2014; half the material is vintage 1981 or earlier with the other half being culled from the last two decades. A signed and numbered certificate comes with the set, of which only 1000 have been made.

The Band - "The Band" 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Boxed Set
If you're a fan of The Band it's likely that you know the songs on their 1969 self-titled album by heart and you've probably worn out a couple of copies of the release over the decades. Available in various configurations, this super deluxe option of The Band includes two CDs, a Blu-ray, two vinyl LPs, a 7" vinyl single and a hardbound book. Each of the CDs has bonus tracks, including unreleased goodies like an instrumental version of "Up on Cripple Creek," an acapella take on "Rockin' Chair" and an alternate version of "The Unfaithful Servant." The original album is presented here with a brand new mix by fabled engineer and producer Bob Clearmountain. The Blu-ray is primarily an audio disc featuring the original album in high resolution audio along with half a dozen bonus tracks but also the documentary film "Classic Albums - The Band." The 7" vinyl single replicates a 1969 Capitol Records single with "Rag Mama Rag" as the A-side with "The Unfaithful Servant" on the flip.

Gentle Giant - Unburied Treasure
Gentle Giant fans, are you ready? Here's the consummate collection for fans of this beloved prog band; a 30-disc set! The 30 discs break down like this: all 12 of the band's original releases, 15 concert albums, (seven of which have never been released previously), 2 "posthumous" CDs holding live material and outtakes, and a Blu-ray disc that holds a Steven Wilson remix of the band's 1970 debut for the Vertigo label. And as they say on those television infomercials, "That's not all!" Also included are a 136-page coffee table book, a band photo signed by the classic Gentle Giant lineup, a tour history book with commentary on the live recordings, two replica posters, replicas of album giveaway items and a replica of the jigsaw used to promote the Missing Piece album. Limited to 2000 copies.

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