* denotes a future topic to be covered
I have about two dozen boxed sets in my vast collection of vinyl. There are some that I bought (Jethro Tull & Bob Dylan), and some that were given to me as presents (Dr. Demento & Bruce Springsteen). But for the bulk of them, I acquired them the old fashioned way: free.
Some of the free I acquired from people who were purging their collections and asked me to take them off their hands. And a couple of others came into my possession as barter. The bulk of the free ones, however, came to me through my late grandfather's record collection*.
Back in the day (1980's), Reader's Digest used to offer boxed sets on all kinds of middle of the road artists, and being the sucker that my grandfather was*, he bought all kinds of boxed sets of vinyl.
Now this list isn't quite definitive, but this well give me a chance to show off what kind of recall I possess (remember kids, I write the bulk of my posts by hand at work).
1} The Statler Brothers
2} Kenny Rogers
3} Marty Robbins
4} 101 Greatest Instrumentals
5} Greatest Original Hits of the 70's
6} Roger Whittaker
7} Those Were Our Years: The Early '40's
8} 101 Greatest Classical Songs
9} Nat "King" Cole
Like I stated in my first post, I actually listened to all of my boxed sets from beginning to end. The reasoning behind this was twofold. One, I needed music to listen to while I was painstakingly writing all the album/cassette/45 info down on index cards (cross-indexed as well). Two, it gave me the opportunity to pick out songs for a tape collection I wanted to create (got up to about thirty tapes before giving up).
I did enjoy most of the boxed sets, and the main reason that I did was simply because it allowed me to explore a particular artist's repertoire with a deepness that can only be found if you went out and purchased each and every single piece of music by the artist (which is why I loathe any and all Greatest Hits compilations). A box set really is the next best thing to actually doing what I suggested, simply because it's not a greatest hits collection (which I don't buy to begin with anyways).
I would like to finish up this post by giving you a brief overview and opinion on some of my boxed sets, so in case you wish to explore a particular artist, you can do so at your own leisure.
Please note that all of these sets were produced prior to 1990, and some may have been reissued on compact disc, or not at all.
Jethro Tull "Twenty Years of Jethro Tull": This is five disc set that not only contains the essential hits but touches on all aspects of the groups career. There is an excellent liner notes booklet with it as well. The only thing I can say about this set, is that it reissued on compact disc and the other problem is that there is a similar boxed set as well. Trivia note: they won the very first Grammy for heavy metal music for their song "Farm On The Freeway".
Bruce Springsteen 'Live '75-'85': If you like live Bruce, buy this boxed set. If you don't, it's like a greatest hits packaged. Came out when "Born In The U.S.A." was saturating the charts and the airwaves.
Bob Dylan "Biograph": Excellent overview of his career up to the mid-80's. Vintage cuts, along with B-sides and rarities. Much better (in my humble opinion) than his "Greatest Hits vol 1-3".
Dr. Demento "presents the Greatest Novelty Records of All Time": If you love novelty songs, then this boxed set is for you (currently out of print and as far as I know, not available on compact disc, but one never really knows). Covers the 1940's through the mid 80's, plus some selected Christmas novelty cuts.
The Statler Brothers: I enjoy classic country and this group was one of the ones I grew up listening to.
Marty Robbins: Same reason as the previous one.
Kenny Rogers: I like Kenny Rogers for his music. Not for his acting or the other parts of his personal life.