Super DeLuxe Box Sets…Are They A Big Rip-Off?

Let’s put it this way, you can either own the entire catalog of LOST HIGHWAY records on awesome CLEAR VINYL or The Rolling Stones ‘Exile On Main St’ Super Deluxe Box Set for $179.00?

The choice is yours.

I own the Exile Box because stupid Borders thought it was a marked down jigsaw puzzle (because they don’t even know what a vinyl 12″ record is over there), and I paid $5.99 for it. But I would never, never have even considered paying $179.00 for this waste of space. Who wants to own a hardcover book (that you’ve probably just paid $30.00 for) with many pictures of Keith Richards. Let’s face it, Keith is awesome and this LP is my favorite one, but Keith was really shall we say ‘going through a time’ to be polite. Then you get all these stupid extras with the tongue logo that probably cost them 3 cents to print and you are paying $10.00?

OK, that’s enough Stone bashing…and having said that, the best deal is probably their 3CD1DVD deluxe box set version of ‘Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out’?
I’ve actually come to the decision that not all Super Deluxe Box Sets are a rip-off. Just most of them. You have to add up the pluses and minuses.

So here then is a list of recent things I saw that would fit the description of a classic rock album that is now available in the Super Deluxe format.
Buy one of these boxes or pay this month’s rent…that’s really what it boils down to and nine times out of ten, your woman will dump you if you decide to ROCK!

The list graded from 1-10:

1 David Bowie~Station To Station = 5
First of all, it is a good album, but not in the same league as ‘low’, ‘heroes’, or ‘scary monsters’. I’ll tell you though, David is usually pretty good about giving you something extra that is usually quality, if not weird. I really can’t give this anything under a 5 because it’s got some interesting rare live stuff that is probably better than you’d expect?

2 Derek and The Dominoes~Layla=2
Probably very close to the best album Eric’s really ever done from the heart. The problem is you are paying $27.00 for a stupid art lithograph that’s buck-ugly. Again, Eric (like Keith Richards during the Exile sessions), was really going through a time during this period, so any photos or posters are just depressing as hell. There are other reasons this thing gets a 2: there are so-called little extras, badges and prints that say “Derek Is Eric”. Give me a break, that stuff is total junk. Then the so-called never released Dominoes live tracks are there…but ah…those were released…on the flop Crossroads box set from 1989 that still is out there on vinyl, sealed for $25.00, because like every Clapton box set (with the exception of Cream & The Yardbirds), everything flopped when using his solo name…go figure? This is no different. Order the regular 2-LP set here on for only like $24.00…re-mastered and ROCKIN’.

3 Alice Cooper~new rarities box set=7
This box features material from say 1966-1972 and comes with (I must say) some pretty neat goodies. This box actually is a 10. The ridiculous price brings it to a 7. Come on Alice, I can go to ebay and purchase one of those dumb ‘ELECTED ’72” bumper stickers from the promo video for $2. Give a little, eh?

4 Pearl Jam~TEN=1
The reason this gets a 1 is because you can already purchase an awesome remastered 180 gram pressing of this for only $14.99…AND…you get and extra LP of the entire TEN album remixed by Brendan O’Brien to boot. Who needs all these slight remixes anyways? Let the thing stand alone for what it is. If there ever were classic rock albums that should be remixed to clean up their muddy sound, it would be the first four Elvis Costello albums…and they have done this and they sound fantastic. Leave Pearl Jam, Nirvana and grunge alone. I’d say the same for the “Vitalogy” box. Way overkill, the expanded 2 LP 180 gram remaster was enough. What they should do is put out a 4 or 6 LP box set of Pearl Jams’ B-sides, live & rarities…that would get a 10.

5 Megadeth~Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying?=4
Whose buying is right. The worst thing about this is that the people that would really enjoy it (16-18 year old High School kids), could never afford the 2 Ben Franklins to purchase it…a shame. I don’t really think they are missing out on too much though? All of these slight remixes don’t justify the cost. For about $40.00 you can get the Megadeth “Warchest” box set. This puppy has 4 CD’s and one DVD concert. The DVD alone is worth the price of admission…but the 4 CD’s have every hit, every B-side, every key album track and as I recall, 2 awesome concerts all inside jam packed with 80 minutes on each disc. This is surely the way to go. This Deluxe box does get a 4 for the inclusion of 2 vinyl records of killer live stuff.

6 The Rolling Stones~Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out=10 (for the 3 CD/1DVD set only)
After bashing “Exile” (as good a record as that is) I feel that this 3CD/1DVD version is a total 10. Even though the DVD is way too short at 30 minutes, you get a rare glimpse of just Mick & Keith (on National Steel Guitar) going through what they are all about: The Blues. Add to that, the awesome big finale of “Satisfaction” (a crime is was left off the original) both on the DVD & the extra CD. You also get an echoey guitar set by B.B. King and the naughtiest performance that Tina Turner probably ever did. Throw this in with a killer concert poster reproduction and a book that for once gives great information, photos, and history of the concert and the original album remastered that desperately needed it…all for a pretty decent price. The version that includes the vinyl LP’s is actually a rip-off. just get the small CD box.

8 Pink Floyd~The Dark Side Of The Moon=10
I’ll make it real clear…an album this important will always get a 10. Sgt. Pepper, The Joshua Tree, Born In The U.S.A., Appetite Fort Destruction, American Beauty, Thriller, Are You Experienced…albums that changed the world are all 10’s regardless of price. Having said that, I don’t know if any of these other groundbreaking albums can provide what this “Dark Side” issue does? This thing is like split over 10 discs (CD’s & DVD’S) and has concerts, quad sound, spoofs, remixes, etc. etc. Incredible and David Gilmour always kicked butt live. My friends tell me that Dark Side is the best album ever issued in the history of the world. Whether I agree or not, this thing is recommended…I’d say even for casual fans…which would be me.

8 Paul McCartney~McCartney (the bowl of cherries album)=2
This thing gets a 2 for a very simple reason: RAM (released only 1 year later under the Paul And Linda McCartney moniker) was 50 times better than this. If you go back and review all of the Beatles solo releases, each Beatle was sort of testing the waters with their first release. There was no reason to not include RAM stuff or RAM rarities. A waste.

9 Paul McCartney & Wings~Band On The Run=10
Now this is more like it, if not a little over-priced? For a lot of people…and that would include me…Band On The Run was the Sgt. Pepper of the 70’s. From start to finish… it had McCartney magic with musicians and producers that clicked and Sir Paul could never equal this, but came close trying ie: Venus & Mars, Live And Let Die, Wings Over America (hah, the bootleg on RED, WHITE & BLUE vinyl was 50 times better than the Capitol 3LP LIVE set). Nevertheless, it’s great to hear work-in-progress for such an important album that really at the time got played to death on American radio stations.

10 to make it an even 10 count, I heard that Jefferson Airplane is next? Hopefully it will be “Surrealistic Pillow”? This will probably be a 7? J.A. were always killer live and nothing ever sounded the same twice. Add that and some Jerry Garcia dialogue and extra studio stuff and it might be worth it? The Jefferson Airplane Loves You 3CD box set sure was worth it…not mention the now deleted 3CD “JANIS” Janis Joplin box set from 1992?

Save your money if you’re interested in any of these? That’s for sure!


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