Few debut albums are as perfect as ‘Little Earthquakes’ by Tori Amos. Not only is it a recording with barely a note wasted its also a deep and thoughtful experience that leaves the listener emotionally spent upon completion of listening. In under an hour, Ms. Amos takes us on a roller coaster journey of songs that deal with changing weather and changing emotions – songs dealing with self depreciation, of sexuality, self-worth, rape, missed periods, fitting social situations…or not, and far more besides; almost every line dealing with the deeply personal, uncovering parts of the human condition. Right from the beginning of ‘Crucify’ to the last notes of the title track with Amos pleading “give me life, give me pain, give me myself again”, ‘Little Earthquakes’ never lets up.
In September 2010, UB40’s debut album ‘Signing Off’ was afforded a lavish (but reasonably priced) deluxe reissue for its 30th anniversary. In addition to the original album, a three disc set included all the non-album singles in their 12” incarnations and a DVD featuring the promo video clips and each of the band’s UK TV appearances. A thorough job, indeed; the only thing absent was the live clip of ‘Madam Medusa’ from Frejas, 1980 as seen in Miles Copeland’s ‘Urgh! A Music War!’ concert film.
In the 1970s greatest hits collections were a quick way for record companies to bundle together previously released material under the pretence that it was a celebration of a band’s career up to a particular point. These were not usually so much a celebration as a way to make a quick buck, but whatever the justification, such releases rarely troubled the more serious record buyer. In the late 80s, the game changed when record companies began to pad such collections out with two or three unreleased tracks, not only ensuring the collection of singles would sell to a more casual listener, but also hoping it would tempt the long term fan into that extra purchase. Such practice became common.
In September 2013, the Universal Music group announced an addition to their ever growing collection of lavish, multi-disc box sets. ‘Give Me Strength’, a near comprehensive collection of Eric Clapton’s 1974/75 studio sessions with the addition of a few unreleased nuggets became a reality. In addition to its two discs of studio recordings, the set also pulls together two discs of live material from the three concerts that spawned 1975’s ‘EC Was Here’ live album (nice, but all previously released on the ‘Crossroads 2: Live In The 70s’ four disc set).
In the 1990s, a deluxe edition (or special edition) album invariably meant a double disc set, ie: the original release plus bonus disc of rarities, b-sides and/or live tracks. In the 21st century, the big record companies have really expanded on this concept, with the “deluxe edition” now meaning multi-disc packages, in some cases retailing at a three-figure price point.