Music gift guide

Box sets

From <b>Bruce Springsteen, “The Ties That Bind: The River Collection”</b>
From <b>Bruce Springsteen, “The Ties That Bind: The River Collection”</b> Joel Bernstein

Baby, it’s cold outside . . . what better time to stuff the stocking of that special someone with a music-related treat to curl up with and enjoy. If you have a rock, pop, country, hip-hop, or jazz fan on your list, one of these books, box sets, DVDs, reissues, or holiday albums will become a part of the soundtrack for his or her 2016 — and, by extension, yours as well.

Our Pick:

Bruce Springsteen, “The Ties That Bind: The River Collection”

Take a deep dive with this box dedicated to Springsteen’s 1980 double album, “The River,” which spawned such classic tunes as “Hungry Heart,” “Out in the Street,” and, of course, the sublime title track.


“Part of ‘The River’ was trying to find the courage to jump in with both feet,” muses Springsteen in the set’s contemplative new documentary, “The Ties That Bind.” He does just that with this lavish package.

The beautifully constructed 4-CD/3-DVD collection — there is also a Blu-Ray configuration — covers 52 tracks. It includes one full disc of 22 outtakes — 11 never before released — and the first official release of the 10-song, single-album version of “The River” that Springsteen originally submitted, before pulling it to recalibrate.

The set also includes a coffee table book, but most tantalizing is four hours of never-before-released video, including a vibrant 1980 concert from Tempe, Ariz. The documentary — which includes a fun clip of the E Street Band playing Max Weinberg’s wedding — finds the singer-songwriter reflecting on the making of the album, interspersed with period concert and archival footage and the Boss performing acoustic renditions of several “River” tracks. Out Dec. 4.

More box sets:

Neko Case, “Truckdriver, Gladiator, Mule” As one of American music’s most fearless innovators, Case has been long overdue a retrospective of this scale. This box set includes her
entire solo studio discography — all eight albums, from 1997’s “The Virginian” to 2013’s “The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, the Harder I Fight, the More I Love You” — packaged as vinyl LPs remastered from the original analog tapes. It also includes an 80-page book that Case designed.
(James Reed)


Miles Davis, “At Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4” Perhaps no other artist was associated with the Newport Jazz Festival quite the same way Davis was. His two-decade relationship with George Wein’s festival produced a wealth of live material, presented here on four CDs that sprawl to five hours and feature collaborations with Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, and many others. (J.R.)

Eels, “The Complete DreamWorks
Vinyl-lovers who are also fans of the quirky charms of singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett may dig this eight-album collection, which includes his band’s first five studio albums (with MP3 download codes) plus a live double album available on vinyl for the first time. (Sarah Rodman)

Alan Jackson, “Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story” This 3-disc, 59-track Walmart exclusive is a nice, compact set that spans the country superstar’s 25-plus-year career. It collects many of Jackson’s hits — from uptempo bouncers like “Chattahoochee” to weepers like “Remember When” — and adds eight unreleased tracks. (S.R.)

Roy Orbison, “The MGM Years 1965-1973” The man may have passed away, but the voice will live forever. This whopping 13-disc, 152-track collection — much of which has been long out of print — represents all 11 of Orbison’s MGM studio albums, and compiles B-sides and singles from the same period. Out Dec. 4. (S.R.)


Otis Redding, “Soul Manifesto 1964-1970” A major talent gone far too early, at 26 in a plane crash, Redding remains an architect of soul. This exhaustive 12-disc set assembles his entire studio catalog, including his collaboration with Carla Thomas (“King & Queen”), the classic “Live in Europe” concert recording, and the four albums released after his death in 1967. (J.R.)

Lou Reed, “The Sire Years: Complete Albums Box” The title says it all: This 10-disc set collects all eight of the late Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s Sire albums in one place, including the revered releases “New York” and “Songs for Drella,” the latter his tribute to Andy Warhol with Velvet Underground compatriot John Cale. (S.R.)

The Staple Singers, “Faith & Grace:
A Family Journey 1953-1976”
The first thing you’ll notice about this retrospective on the first family of gospel soul is just how timeless their music remains — not to mention timely in its subject matter. “Freedom Highway” and “Respect Yourself” are as resonant as ever. Along with four CDs, this collection includes a 7-inch single of the Staple Singers’ first recorded performance, plus a 56-page book with new liner notes and previously unseen photos. (J.R.)

Various artists, “Hulaland: The Golden Age of Hawaiian Music” If there’s any instrument more intoxicating than the slack-key guitar, you wouldn’t know it from this mammoth collection of Hawaiian music’s evolution. Over four CDs, the set surveys the genre from the 1920s to the present day. The accompanying book includes Hawaiian sheet music and comprehensive background information on the artists. (J.R.)