An unprecedented project in the rock field: a five-CD box set of unreleased material by a cult artist that never had anything close to a chart hit. Of course Captain Beefheart is the ultimate cult artist, and one with a following so rabid (if limited) that the compilation has a wider audience than many would anticipate. Despite the impressive chronological span and variety of demos, live performances, backing tracks, and outtakes, be cautioned that this is not a best-of or ad hoc career overview. A good deal of the tracks (some of which have long been available on bootleg) are of slightly substandard or low fidelity, and Beefheart's most significant work is ultimately contained on his numerous official releases.
2010's mammoth, highly collectible and very limited, 19-disc Sandy Denny box set was truly a thing to behold, presenting the entirety of her career from studio to stage to front porch. It was a completist's dream, but it came with an exceptionally high price tag, which makes the appearance of 2011's Notes and the Words: A Collection of Demos and Rarities a real gift for fans, especially those who already own the complete studio recordings, whether solo or with Fotheringay, Strawbs, or Fairport Convention. The handsome, limited-edition four-disc box skims the cream from the top of the myriad rarities, BBC sessions, demos, and outtakes that made the previous collection so remarkable (an intimate bedroom recording of Jackson C. Frank's "Blues Run the Game"; an early demo of Like an Old Fashioned Waltz's "Carnival" with previously unheard melodies and lyrics; a blistering alternate studio take of a Dave Swarbrick-less "Sailor's Life," and alternate versions of Fairport classics like "Matty Groves," "Come All Ye," and "Fotheringay"), resulting in a wonderful window into one of English folk music's most magnificent voices.
In 1973, Mike Oldfield burst onto the British music scene with his debut album Tubular Bells, two long instrumental suites in which Oldfield stitched together a series of melodies into a grandly scaled work in which he played the many instruments himself. The album was an audacious beginning to a career than saw him become one of the most respected artists in progressive rock, as well as a successful film composer. The Complete Mike Oldfield is a collection released in 1985 which features selections from his first ten solo albums, as well as highlights from his score for the film The Killing Fields.
Oldfield’s ninth studio album Discovery has been newly remastered and will be reissued as an expanded 2CD+DVD deluxe set. The first disc will add five bonus tracks including an extended version of To France, along with B-sides and extra tracks from a 12-inch single…