Pop: Sleeve notes

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The Independent Culture
Since this week's "50 Best" feature in The Information covers the records of the year, it's somewhat appropriate to look at more expensive music gifts - and if you want to give someone a special present, a box set is never a bad idea. Frank Sinatra and John Lennon are just two of the high-profile names with boxed product on sale, but one of the gems of the year is a four-CD compilation of obscure bands brought together under the title Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era 1965-68 (Rhino- Import). Names like The Leaves and The Sparkles may mean little, but it's a classic review of an important period in rock.

Delving even further back in time is The Complete Hank Williams - the box set of the year. This luxury limited edition set with 10 CDs and two books is a fitting tribute to an artist whose recording career spanned just six years - before he died in 1953 from pioneering the rock'n'roll lifestyle. With over 220 tracks (50 of them previously unreleased), it shows not just why Williams (above) is seen as the godfather of (decent) country music but also reminds us why acts as diverse as Beck, The The and Alabama 3 pay homage to him. As well as such well-known standards as "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry", "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Cold Cold Heart" there are dozens of obscure demos, radio recordings and live takes that really make this definitive collection something to immerse yourself in for weeks. At a suggested retail price of pounds 100 it truly is a bargain.

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