BEST OF 2015: Steven Stock’s Top 10 Box Sets

Reviews by Steven Stock

gobetweensTHE GO-BETWEENS: G Stands for Go-Betweens, 4LP/4CD (Domino)
Forget R.E.M., consign U2 to history’s dustbin, for the Go-Betweens were the best band of the ’80s, and this box set proves it. Their first three albums and a singles collection on vinyl, and four discs of mostly unreleased rarities on CD. Plus a book and a poster and enough ephemera to almost justify the expense!

velvetsTHE VELVET UNDERGROUND: Loaded Super Deluxe Edition, 5CD/DVD-Audio (Rhino)
Atlantic wanted an album loaded with hits, hence the title. It’s got some of the band’s most accessible material – “Sweet Jane,” “New Age” and “I Found a Reason” – and some of its worst (“Lonesome Cowboy Bill”). Live at Max’s is cleaned up so well you can make out Jim Carroll’s refreshment order clearly (Pernod and Tuinal, of course). New addition Live at the Second Fret is barely listenable. But the 5.1 mix of Loaded proper kicks ass!

kingcrimsonKING CRIMSON: Thrak Deluxe, 12CD/DVD-Audio/DVD/2Blu-ray
Nobody does box sets more lavishly than Robert Fripp, and the band’s 1994 comeback is worthy of his efforts.

fotheringayFOTHERINGAY: Nothing More: The Collected Fotheringay, 3CD/DVD (Universal/Island)
Sandy Denny misses the group vibe she had in Fairport and tries to recapture that magic. Ultimately the band never achieved what she envisioned, but this is still majestic, beautiful and well worth your attention.

bowieDAVID BOWIE: Five Years, 1969-1973, 12CD (Parlophone)
Flawed in conception – would’ve preferred another disc of rarities rather than the pointless 2003 remix of Ziggy – but executed to perfection, thanks to Japanese-style mini-LP sleeves and some great remasters.

spookytoothSPOOKY TOOTH: The Island Years: An Anthology, 1969-1974, 9CD (Universal/Island)
Great band, largely overlooked stateside.

hawkwindHAWKWIND: This is Your Captain Speaking…Your Captain is Dead, 10CD (Parlophone)
Lemmy got kicked out of Hawkwind for doing too many drugs – not an easy accomplishment!

billycobhamBILLY COBHAM: The Atlantic Years, 1973-1978, 8CD (Rhino/Atlantic)
You may know Spectrum thanks to Tommy Bolin’s guitar work, but the other albums here ain’t too shabby either!

PENETRATION: The Virgin Years, 4CD (Virgin/Caroline)
RUTS: The Virgin Years, 4CD (Virgin/Caroline)
Budget reissues with loads of bonus tracks, Peel sessions and live concerts. Magazine next please!

Stanley Johnson’s Favorite Things
J Hunter’s Top 25 Jazz Recordings, Part I
Tim Livingston’s Coolest Rock Event/Album That You Probably Never Heard About
Albert Brooks’ Top 5 Vocal Albums
J Hunter’s Top 25 Jazz Recordings, Part II
Rudy Lu’s Top 10 Favorite Concerts
Tim Livingston’s Coolest Rock Event That You Probably Never Heard About, No. 2
J Hunter’s 10 Best Concerts… And More
Gene Sennes’ Fave Recordings
Ed Conway’s Top 10 Concerts
Tim Mack’s Top 10 Concerts
Fred Rudofsky’s Fave Concerts, Albums & More
Don Wilcock’s Top 10 Blues Albums

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