Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
Simon & Garfunkel The Columbia Studio Recordings 1964-1970 Simon & Garfunkel (Columbia/Legacy)
Containing digitally remastered versions of all five albums the folk-rock duo recorded for Columbia—including Sounds of Silence, Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water—this boxed set is pumped up with 13 rare and previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd Pink Floyd (Capitol)
This two-disc set intermingles highlights from all of the band's various incarnations over 30 years. Running through the tracks in nonchronological order makes for a suitably weird collage—without such familiar cuts as "Run Like Hell" and "Brain Damage," but with the rare "When the Tigers Broke Free" (previously only on vinyl).
The Golden Road (1965-1973) Grateful Dead (Rhino)
Having spawned such imitators as Phish, the Grateful Dead—whose leader, Jerry Garcia, died in 1995—live on in spirit. This monster set (15½ hours on 12 CDs, including four live discs) doesn't have quite the allure of those homemade tapes, but it should bring back fond recollections for some of the Dead's most loyal fans, whose memories may be impaired.
Cat Stevens Cat Stevens (A&M/UME)
Now known as Yusuf Islam, Stevens made acoustic soft-rock for '70s dorms. This collection contains lots of well-strummed classics—"Father and Son," "Peace Train"—but there's a lot of filler too.
Lady Day The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia (1933-1944) Billie Holiday (Columbia/Legacy)
Rounding up the recordings Holiday did for Columbia—230 numbers total—this ornate package of 10 discs pays suitable tribute to the lady who transformed jazz.
The Long Road to Freedom An Anthology of Black Music Various Artists (Buddha) This five-CD boxed set celebrates the history of black music, including folk songs from Africa and minstrel ditties. A detailed book and bonus DVD feature commentary by Harry Belafonte.
KISS: The Box Set KISS (Mercury/UME) Underneath all the makeup was a potent arena-rock band that never got enough respect for its music. With five discs, including all the hits, this is a '70s head-banger's must-have.
The Reggae Box The Roots of Jamaican Music Various Artists (Hip-O) From lilting Mento to salacious dance-hall, the forms of reggae are comprehensively sampled in this four-CD compilation, which comes with a 48-page booklet detailing the music's birth, growth and ever-expanding influence.
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience Various Artists (Rhino)
This super-bad (as in good) boxed set is almost worth it for its groovy packaging alone: Its six CDs come in an 8-track carrying case. But this collection has plenty else to dig, including 136 soul nuggets of the polyester decade—from Freda Payne's 1970 hit "Band of Gold" to Smokey Robinson's 1979 classic "Cruisin'."
Q: The Musical Biography of Quincy Jones Quincy Jones (Rhino) Each of this sweeping set's four discs is devoted to a different aspect of the 26-time Grammy winner's 50-year career: his early jazz work, his movie and television scores, his production for artists such as Michael Jackson and, finally, the Dude's own eight acclaimed albums.
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