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Need a last-minute gift for a music geek? Check out these four box sets


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FOUR STARS: So (25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition); Peter Gabriel; Eagle Rock: Big time? You bet. Peter Gabriel’s landmark 1986 album, So, a sky-sized achievement in artful pop music, belatedly receives the silver-anniversary treatment, complete with a coffee-table book, two platters of vinyl, a demo disc, a live CD/DVD of a 1987 concert from Athens, and another DVD documentary on the making of the Daniel Lanois-produced album. “I’m on my way,” Gabriel sang at the time, “I’m making it.” He knew what was happening as it happened: Red Rain, Sledgehammer, Don’t Give Up (with Kate Bush), In Your Eyes, That Voice Again and Big Time. The 1980s had much of which to be ashamed. But not this.


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FOUR STARS: The Music of Louisiana; Various artists; Oxford American Southern Music Issue: As the smooth swamp-rocker G.G. Shin sings it on the midnight-hour heave-and-ho of Certain Kind of Something, what is preferred in Louisiana is a “little bit of that, a little bit of this, and a little bit of back and forth.” For its 14th annual music issue, Oxford American magazine goes huzzah on the music of the L-shaped state. It’s a crawfish fiesta, with features on long-goners (Professor Longhair and the high-singing Creole-Cajun accordionist Amédé Ardoin) and some still around. The included-with 21-track `CD salute is something of a hootenanny, with retro rock, Johnny Adams soul, alligator R&B, uproarious jazz, and Dr. John’s acerbic The Patriotic Flag Waiver from 1969. Robert Pete Williams does creepy blues, A Thousand Miles From Nowhere, on a package that is a trip into another time and world.


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THREE AND A HALF STARS: Charlie is My Darling (Super Deluxe Box Set); The Rolling Stones; Abkco: “The future as a Rolling Stone is uncertain.” The original (and lone blond) Stone Brian Jones didn’t now what lay ahead for what the Belfast Telegraph called the “shaggy-haired rebels of today’s pop scene.” Time wasn’t on the side of Jones – he would die in 1969 – but the rest of the band survived, and then some. A box-set job of the 1965 documentary Charlie is My Darling is a back-stage-access black-and-white portrait of the band in its formative and most frenzied time. Extras here include a replica tour poster, a 40-page book, and live tracks on CD and vinyl. The centrepiece, naturally, is the new 65-minute version of the film, complete with a fly-on-the-wall look at Mick Jagger and Keith Richards casually composing the Flowers album cut Sittin’ on a Fence.Charlie is My Darling (Super Deluxe Box Set); The Rolling Stones; Abkco; THREE AND A HALF STARS:


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THREE AND A HALF STARS: Pink Moon; Nick Drake; Island/Universal: It would be ill-fitting to glam up such a small and intimate thing as Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, a hushed, solo-acoustic affair from 1972 that received mainstream notice only by the use of the title track on a 1999 Volkswagen commercial. So this new vinyl package of Drake’s third and final studio album is antiqued, with LP-worn impressions and facsimiles of the late cult hero’s handwritten lyrics. You want new-fashioned? Download an MP3 copy dubbed from an original pressing recorded from the Drake family’s gramophone player. “Saw it written and I saw it say, pink moon is on its way.” So goes the first line from a 28-minute album that takes it time, but sweetly and mysteriously.


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