Wednesday, July 10, 2013


hi there

well, this is a subject that will fly over the heads of the kids of today. with their inferior quality, frequently illegal downloads all being stored in a compact iTwat or similar device, they will never know the problem of the CD collector. what is that problem? special or limited edition variants of albums that come in unconventional shapes and sizes.

for some reason artists and record labels would appear to feel that regular, standard sized boxes for releases - be they "special editions" or just regular releases - are some sort of shackles or chains that they need to break free from. the packaging seems to get much fiddling with.

as a means of comparison up front, here is a picture of some of my "special edition" DVDs on the shelves. you will be pleased to see that Blogger decided to rotate the picture for me, and rotate it un a way that the titles are all upside down. nice one.


do you see the pattern in the above? no, not the consistent, outstanding quality of the titles there, the fact that the disc boxes are, within milimeters, all the same height. the width varies, certainly, to allow for numerous discs (and in one case a Batman mask), but the height is more or less the same on each, making it a doddle to store them. this, as you will see in the following examples, does not happen in the world of the CD. it seems that the motto is "any shape you like as long as it is not able to fit on a CD stand properly".

first off is one that has featured on this blog before, mainly because i bought this for 1p (one pence) off that Amazon Marketplace thing. yes, i suggest you do browse the Marketplace for things. here is a box set of Duran Duran's first three albums.

not sure if you can make it out, but it's number 158 out of whatever limited number this set had. quite a result to get it at all, never mind the price i paid!

the box of course is far too big to fit into a regular CD stand, and inside the CDs are presented in those "mini lp" gatefold covers that labels like to issue. which means even if for some reason you wanted to dispose of the box, you wouldn't be able to put the actual albums in a regular stand anyway.

quite a smart set, as you can see! for many these three albums are "all you need" of Duran Duran, if that much. Seven And The Ragged Tiger is not really that fondly thought of, but i recall Christmas adverts for it, with i think Joe Brown doing the voice over. he was flogging them on behalf of Boots, usually known for being a chemist, if i remember right. anyway, there is no such thing as a bad Duran Duran album.

of a similar size, and indeed if anything even more lavish on the inside, is the special edition version of the official release of Bowie's Santa Monica '72 concert.

it was widely available as a bootleg for years and years before an official release came along. snobbish type dickheads would insist it was "better" than the officially released Ziggy Stardust soundtrack and film of the same era. nonsense, they are both excellent and well worth having.

i could probably do a whole blog post on the contents of this 1 CD box set, but for now here's a quick glimpse of all the stuff David had his people shove in the box for you.

by the way, i wouldn't read too much into the ticket number on the front of the box. i have seen variants on the internet go into the hundreds of thousands - if that's a numbering system, well, this is certainly a special edition, but limited it most certainly was not.

every now and then awkward, tricky to store oversized CD boxes make sense. a very good example would be the 2CD, 1DVD version of the 20th anniversary release of The Stone Roses. yes i do have the 10th anniversary edition here too, but i am not bothering to put that one here. and yes i will no doubt one day own the 30th anniversary edition. if they released an anniversary edition every year? yes.

the discs come in a beautiful, hardback bound book, as you will sort of get the idea of below in the next picture, which once again Blogger has decided to rotate for me. thanks again.

mindful of the fact that this was from 2009, a time when it seemed like a reunion of the band would never, ever happen, the reason that this release was given such respectful, high quality treatment was that all four members contributed towards the linear notes. yes, even Reni, who no one had heard much of since 1994.

of course they were not in the same room as each other when they contributed, but it was a start i suppose. too many bands that are no longer together ignore the fact that they have millions of fans and should thus be proud of what they did.

what is it that Reni contributed, you are asking? if you don't have the set and have never seen it, here's a sort of look at it for you, then.

erm, yes. if you can make it out, it's something akin to a bizarre or esoteric free flowing poem, borrowing words every now and then from Don't Stop and Guernica. after some 15 years of silence on The Stone Roses, Reni delivered a coded message, then. some tried to work out what hidden words of wisdom he was trying to give. others, like me, just accepted it at Face Reni Value.

singles. strange things for the world of CD releasers, it seems. the capacity of a CD is insignificant compared to the desire of the industry to release what it wants on a disc, apparently. which is why you get cool looking but on the whole impractical releases like this one.

that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly what it says on the box. 12 CD singles by The Who, with each CD containing 2 tracks, as in what would have been on the A and B sides of the 7" singles. not that they are presented as the 7" singles were, they've borrowed a b-side from here and there to make the singles look as whoever it is that put this together wished for them to look.

here, rotated for your pleasure by Blogger and not by me, is the back, showing the tracklisting. for dedicated Who fans, oddites stand out in regards of what's missing.

yep, some significant singles are missing there - Magic Bus, for instance, and Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere. most baffling for me, though, is the lack of the celebrated Ready Steady Who EP. one would have thought that this kind of box set release was perfect to include it, but alas no.

fortunate, then, that thanks to my Dad i have the original issue of the EP! a quick break from odd shaped CD boxes to have a look at it? why not.

just as frustrating as the lack of the Ready Steady Who EP on CD is the fact that no compilation offers you all five tracks from it on one disc either. the closest you can get i think, and if you so wish do search my blog for the Listening To Who posts i did, is the reissue of The Who Sell Out, featuring all but Circles from it.

with CD sales apparently dwindling and The Who having quite possibly milked every cent out of the repackage/re-re-re-release cow already i suspect this will never get issued in a physical format. what a shame, it's a great slice of rock and a class thing to own.

a surprising inclusion here are two releases from ZTT, or rather ZTT via Salvo. for the last few years they have been issuing releases as part of what they call the Element series. if one leaves the politics of certain releases aside (yes, the Frankie ones), they are superb, and contain many gems for the collector.

considering the attention to detail usually associated with ZTT, it is strange that, knowing this series is something that collectors would want on their shelves and to display with pride,  the packaging is quite erratic and done on the basis of them all being one-off releases, despite them being part of their own created Element series as mentioned.

most come in standard sized CD packaging, be it "traditional" jewel boxes or those foldy out cardboard things. at least two, picture here, have rather come out in those larger than usual "mini lp" type boxes. which again do not fit on to regular CD storage shelves properly.

both of the above are well worth your time giving a try, by the way. Claudia Brucken in particular does not seem to be that widely heard of, which is a shame as she's a dazzling, stunning vocalist. for a start, on this CD you get her and Paul Rutherford (yes, the Paul Rutherford) doing an amazing cover of Bowie's This Is Not America.

i was going to do a seperate post for this next one, but what the hell. behold, ladies and gentlemen, in a wider than usual type of box, the bonkers soundtrack for the bonkers film that is The Wicker Man.

the, i should say, proper film by the name of The Wicker Man, not that horrid thing starring Nicholas "aaargh! no! not BEEEEEEEES" Cage. i speak only of the 1973 film featuring Edward Woodward and of course Christopher Lee. Christopher Lee, by the way, consistently refers to this film as his own choice of his greatest work. he is bigger than you, whoever you are, so i suggest you pay attention.

as you can pretty much make out, i would have thought, the box contains the CD in a standard case, with the booklet folding out into a poster. you also get a very smart booklet with it.

the music on the disc? if you have seen the film, you will know. if you have not seen the film, go and see it. in the mean time, the best description i can give is that it for the most part contains rather sexually explicit folk music. yeah, it is as good as it sounds. in fact i am going to put it on right now.

for most of his life as a professional musican, Morrissey has been considered by an ever increasing number as a complete and utter twat. Viz magazine once ran an article claiming to be by a professor stating this to be a scientific fact, and the dummer out of Anthrax had that article printed on a t-shirt. for a number of people things just don't get more authoritative than that.

for me, i really like his music, and i do enjoy the way he winds people up with his comments. i just wish i could love the packaging of two of his albums released on Attack records.

how tall do they stand? i have some of those adjustable shelves, right, and when i adjusted them to accomodate the sets by The Stone Roses and Duran Duran, there was still not enough space height-wise to slot these two in.

the DVDs that came with these two albums were pretty much play once and never again rubbish, by the way. well, the one with You Are The Quarry has the video for Irish Blood, English Heart on it i suppose, which is worth a play or twelve.

now then, if i were to issue an award for the single most stupid display of ludicrous packaging for any CD in my collection, an easy winner - and you have to suspect that this is why they did it - would be this one.

yep, a retrospective compilation celebrating a band that, sadly, really does not exist. don't get over excited, Tapheads, i love them as much as you. on that note, if you are unaware of it, check out the rating system for the film This Is Spinal Tap on the imdb page. when you spot it, well, how cool is that?

it looks like a normal-ish CD set, yeah? well, that's on the outside. as soon as you open it up it goes all a bit Nigel Tufnel.

if you are as fond of the film as i am, you open up this CD set and get a feeling like Nigel Tufnell backstage, confused about the size of the bread (which must be folded) and the fact that some olives are stuffed and some are not. were, pray tell, are the CD and DVD?

the answer, sort of revealed below in yet another image rotated by Bogger, is that they are hiding loose behind a massive fold out statue of the band, Stonehenge and the fans.

no, i have never constructed the stand up model statue of this. i have tried, but i get somewhat confused and bored by which flap goes into which slot. i am sure it looks fantastic when done, but i just cannot be bothered.

as for the DVD that comes with this set, something of a let down. it's basically the band spending a minute or two talking about each track. not as funny as one would have hoped for, but then again if like me you have the 2 and 3 DVD sets of the film, there isn't a lot left to say i suppose!

i probably have a few other oddly shaped CD boxes around, but these were the ones i felt were worth showing off here as examples. i hope one or two have been of some interest!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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