The Beatles: The Beatles in Mono. Not to be confused with the CD release from 2010, this vinyl box contains the legendary albums as mixed in mono, the band’s preferred format. They’ve been newly remastered from the original tapes, and the result is pure audio sweetness.
Various Artists: When I Reach That Heavenly Shore: Unearthly Black Gospel, 1926-1936. Gospel music was developed by singers and choirs who never became household names but were revered, on the circuit, for their stirring power. This three-disc set, which concentrates on the form’s early recordings and includes a few sermons, contains spry and earnest renditions of timeless songs.
Bruce Springsteen: The Album Collection Vol. 1: 1973-1984. Finally, the early highlights of the Boss’ output get the careful audio remastering recently given to Born To Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town. Prepare to be amazed by the crisp piano work on this hi-res “Rosalita.”
Joni Mitchell: Love Has Many Faces. It’s always nice when a legend pores over the catalog to select what should stand as the enduring work. That’s what Joni Mitchell has done with these 53 songs, all circling the theme of love (romantic and otherwise). The early stuff sounds even more revelatory and sharp in this iteration, the moodier late stuff is simply sublime.
Crosby Stills Nash & Young: CSNY 1974. This collectable set, which includes a live DVD, captures the mellow-rock supergroup at its most polished and vocally confident.
Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic: Bruckner 9 Symphonies. Recorded between 1975 and 1981, this is generally regarded as the definitive reading of Bruckner’s sprawling and thought-provoking symphonic works. Long sold as a top-tier box, it’s been repackaged at a budget price; the music, happily, is exactly the same.
Captain Beefheart: Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972. Was Beefheart a charlatan or a visionary? Classics like Trout Mask Replica from 1969 make a strong case for the latter, but the subsequent records collected here are seriously uneven and therefore not definitive – though the entire disc of studio outtakes offers a heady dose of delirious fun.
Eric Dolphy: Twelve Classical Albums: 1959-1962 . This budget collection gathers the albums made by woodwind multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy during the period when free jazz was erupting, and he was among those pushing its limits.