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CD Reviews:
The best box sets of the year

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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It’s the holidays; We all know good things come in large packages — and that’s as true for music as anything else.

2017 brought some significant box sets that make great holiday gifts. Here’s a half-dozen for the music fan on your list:

• The Beatles, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: 50th Anniversary Edition” (Capitol/UMe): A five-disc treasure trove that offers new insight into and appreciation of the making of one of the greatest albums of all time.

• Bob Dylan, “Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13/1979-1981” (Columbia/Legacy): A nine-disc set chronicling Dylan’s controversial “born again” period, with unreleased and live performances that cast that phase in a whole new light.

• R.E.M., “Automatic For The People: 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition” (Craft): A four-disc immersion into a crucial and transitional album, with illuminating demos and an essential live performance.

• U2, “The Joshua Tree” (Island/UMe): The 30th anniversary of the landmark album is packed with goodies including outtakes, B-sides, remixes and a full concert from 1987. If you haven’t found what you’re looking for by now, you never will.

• Various Artists, “American Epic” (Third Man/Columbia/Legacy): The companion to Robert Redford’s elegant PBS series about early American recording was curated by Jack White and T-Bone Burnett with five discs of songs you’ve never heard before but will be happy you have now.

• Various Artists, “Saturday Night Fever: Super Deluxe Edition” (Capitol/UMe): A CD, vinyl and Blu-ray celebration that includes a director’s cut of the film and all of the music. Put it on, and you should be dancing.

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