Ahem, if ANY of the record companies who have issued these box sets would like to send them to me for free, I can pretty much guarantee that I will like them even more in the future.
Not that I'm a whore or anything, but I do think a Best of Bear Family blog would be a wonderful treat for the readers. My home address is always available upon request.
As it stands, here are ten box sets that would make you look like someone who really knows music, has exquisite taste and could clearly have owned a Mercedes-Benz instead if you weren't such a soulful person at heart. In fact, you don't even need a goatee to convince others that you are where it's at.
Remember, you can't take it with you, but you could always leave it to me in your will!
10) Masterworks. (100 CDs) Ten boxes with ten CDs each: Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Telemann and Vivaldi. Just put this thing on your shelf and people will assume you are an extremely cultured person. It's not quite the Mozart Edition: Complete Works, which is 170 CDs or Bach's 155 CD box, but it's enough to make most people stop trying to talk to you about music.
Albert Ammons, Pinetop Smith, Cow Cow Davenport!, Clarence Lofton & Red Nelson, Tampa Red, Clifford Blivens, Raymond Scott (and Slayer), Art Tatum... if you can still listen to a boogie-woogie lick after these 200 songs, then you are a true Boogie-Woogie fan and can probably fly without encountering vertigo.
8) Blue Note - The Collector's Edition. 25 CDs: Jazz music from a label that is the epitome of Jazz. Buy it, if only for the artwork. You can learn to like it later, hipster!
Edith Piaf - L'Integrale (Complete) 20 CDs: I know someone who is considered to be the living incarnation of Edith Piaf and even she doesn't own this box set. I think she should. Can you imagine what you could make the neighbors do if you played this non-stop for days? They'll be begging for that Boogie Woogie box in no time!
6) Bob Dylan - The Original Mono Recordings. 9 CDs / Records...: I'm sure most music fans already own these albums individually, but let's say you're a little lazy at buying individual albums. This, sir, is the box set for you! Not only do you get Bob Dylan's most important period (besides that "Awesome God" period), but you get it in Mono, meaning you can save money on a fancy stereo, since you don't need one! You can go out and pick up a Close N' Play and listen to this stuff and it will sound the same.
Hank Williams. 10 CDs / The Complete Mother's Best Recordings Plus... 15 CDs: What better feeling is there than buying something called "The Complete" and then finding out a few years later that there's a box set with even more CDs that contains stuff not on "The Complete"? It's times like these, where if you can't get a free copy, you might want to resign yourself to listening to the radio and contenting yourself with some Kid Rock! Until you hear Kid Rock and decide that a couple hundred bucks is nothing when it comes to the real thing!
4) Stax-Volt - Complete Soul Singles Volumes 1 through 3. 28 CDs, Volume 1: 9 CDs, Volume 2: 9 CDs. Volume 3: 10 CDs: The thing about R&B is that it's really a "singles" music. Which means that those late night TV ads are not wrong when they say it could cost you thousands of dollars to collect all this great music on your own. Unless of course you illegally download it and get fined millions of dollars for doing so. I'd say listen to the radio, but that's not really an option.
The Beatles - Mono and Stereo Box, Stereo: 16 CDs Mono: 13 CDs: Let's face it, if you're a Beatles fan, you need both. The Mono Set doesn't include Abbey Road or Let It Be and the Stereo Set is mixed in a way that the original albums were never intended. Lucky for you, if you're a hardcore Beatles nut, you probably don't like other music. So, this and a Lennon Signature Box and whatever the hell Ringo's got out there should keep you satisfied until they re-release this stuff again. Not to bum your trip, but aren't you missing The Beatles Story and Live at the Hollywood Bowl and the pre-sell out album, Live at the Star-Club, Hamburg, Germany, 1962. I mean, Please Please Me was so overproduced. And then there are those Anthologies and the Live at the BBC. You're just getting started!
2) Elvis Presley - The Complete Masters Collection. 36 CDs: 711 recordings and a Certificate of Authenticity from Priscilla Presley! All for only $400, rather $399! Plus $29.95 shipping and handling. The 24-page booklet, the Collector's Keepsake 45 RPM record of "That's All Right" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and that certificate from Priscilla are FREE! (This is a $100 savings from what you might pay if your brother-in-law or Ticketmaster were handling the deal. With an offer like this, you'll quickly realize there is no recession whatsoever and that you've had a job all along! You just didn't know it! Remember, the landlord can't evict you that quickly and who doesn't miss an alimony payment from time to time? Lucky for me, I don't like most anything he did after 1958 or else, I'd really be screwed!
Miles Davis - The Genius of Miles Davis. 43 CDs: While you're buying up Edith Piaf, Blue Note and Elvis Presley, you'll be happy to see that for only $749 (plus shipping & handling) (which sure beats the original price of $1,199.99!) you can purchase this 43-CD set of Miles Davis, which includes an individually numbered, exact replica of Miles Davis' Trumpet Case, which houses the CDs; eight box sets to separate the 43 CDs; a T-Shirt; a lithograph; and an exact replica of the "Gustat" Heim 2 mouthpiece used by Miles during his career. How does it sound? I'm sure it sounds great! But how the hell should I know? If you think I've got even the "shipping and handling" for this set, then you've greatly misunderstood the Yahoo! "Voucher" system. All my money has that Stephen King-looking-like mutha on the bills!