Ah, box-set season, that time of year when you go to your nearest record store, looking for gifts for that special someone you know who would really appreciate a super-cool addition to their record collection. Only perhaps you are looking around and noticing that there aren’t really too many of those record stores left anymore. And, come to think of it, who do you even know who still buys and collects physical albums?
A quick perusal of this season’s box-set bonanza would lead one to believe that only two groups still buy box sets: the wealthy and the insane. It used to be that box sets were the practical choice for those of us in the 99 percent who were nonetheless music junkies: why buy a series of individual catalog albums when you could just get them all in one armful at a discount? But now box sets are more esoteric, aimed only at whackadoodles musical completists. As musical fandom joins yacht collecting as yet another misplaced priority of the one percent, here are six offerings to tempt you down the straightjacket pathway.
| |VARIOUS ARTISTS |BODDIE RECORDING COMPANY: CLEVELAND, OHIO (Numero Group, $60, 5 LPs) |CD reissues don't just exist to line the pockets of yesterday's stars whose mansions need refinancing and Rolls Royces need body work - sometimes a re-assessment of a completely overlooked musical phenomenon can save incredible music from the scrap heap of history. Chicago-based Numero Group has been doing wondrous digital charity work since 2003, shedding light on whole scenes in danger of being swallowed up by the mists of time. In this set, they point their spotlight on Thomas and Louise Boddie's DIY studio and pressing plant, where for almost four decades starting in 1958 they filtered spirituals, soul, funk, and straight-up weirdness into a sprawling discography of churning goodness. The label's lack of a hit didn't discourage them, as they kept discovering and pressing up a treasure trove of hot jams and precious gems, 59 of which were hunted down by the Numero crew. The set comes with an exhaustive book that serves as a guidepost to a fascinating tale of one of pop's most bountiful unknown nooks.