Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Gift Ideas For The Music Nerd In Your Life: Beatles, Stones, Patti Smith and Van Halen Edition!

Rolling Stones - On Air (CD/LP and hardcover book)
While the packaging may lead you to suspect this is some sort of unofficial cash-in, a lot of thought actually went into presenting the best of the band's early BBC sessions (1963-1965). Granted, not every session or version of a particular song is included here. Instead, the priority appears to be on curating the band's best performances and, of those tracks, releasing only those that have the best sound quality. Working from mono recordings, a process called "audio source separation" was used by the engineers at Abbey Road to separate mono recordings for stereo remixing and mastering.

The results are, in a word, astonishing. Even those who consider themselves discerning completists express amazement at the results. If that's not enough, there are 8 cuts that have never seen the light of day anywhere.

The best part is you get 2 discs (32 tracks) for $14 (or 2LP vinyl for $29).

Those wanting to fully immerse themselves in the experience can lose themselves in the accompanying hardcover book Rolling Stones On Air in The Sixties ($28.45), which boasts some truly amazing photographs of the band making their many TV and radio session appearances.

Beatles - The Christmas Records
Too young to have joined the Beatles fan club? Worry not, Capitol Records has assembled all seven of the band's fan club only Christmas singles in one handy box set, painstakingly recreating the original picture sleeves so that you get to feel like a kid in the sixties.

 Considering that an original 1963 Beatles Christmas flexi goes for upwards of $40 on eBay, grabbing all seven for a retail price of $72.98 is a steal when you consider that you also get copies of the Beatles newsletters and detailed recording liner notes.

Patti Smith - Devotion (hardcover $14.10)
As one of the true pioneers of the modern music comes a brief but powerful screed on the process of writing/creating/chasing your passion through a series of deeply moving vignettes while also taking us on a trip to the South of France.

If it were a film, it would be the kind that ends far too soon, but, in written form (a brisk 112 pages), the adventure is just long enough to allow us an escape from the noisy train that takes us back and forth to work or quiet monotony of our Starbucksian cocoon.

A truly inspiring read each and every time.

Runnin' With The Devil... - Neil Monk (harcover $19.62/softcover $16.99)
Ever wonder what it must have been like to been Van Hlen's tour manager or, gasp, band manager? Wonder no more as the band's longtime confidant Noel Monk grants you an all-access pass to the band at their most musically relevant, their most commercially successful, and, last but not least, their most personally toxic.

For those who have even casually followed the band over the years, much of this book will ring familiar, but the detail Monk adds to our already vivid imaginations make this a trip worth taking, if only to have our suspicions confirmed.

If even half what is described in these pages were true, it would take ten Motley Crues, five Poisons, and six Ratts to match the Mighty Van Halen's level of debauchery and excess.

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