Original Album box set round up

Original Album box sets

Last week saw the release of a number of the ever-popular ‘original album’ box sets. For the uninitiated, these are boxes which collect together full album releases by one artist – normally five albums per box, but sometimes less.

These sets are aggressively priced (between £10-15), so the packaging is cheap and cheerful, rather than luxurious and indulgent. Sony collect these under the ‘Original Album Classics’ banner, while Warner Music, for example, opt for ‘Original Album Series’. You get the idea. Both of these labels package the albums in the same way, using simple card sleeves, that normally replicate the original vinyl design. There are no booklets and no credits, other than what might appear on the album sleeve itself (assuming it’s readable).

Below are some highlights of some of the best of the new releases.

Art Garfunkel / Original Album Classics box set

Art Garfunkel (Sony/Columbia)

Art’s first five albums as a solo artist – Angel Care (1973), Breakaway (1975), Watermark (1977) Fate For Breakfast (1979) and Scissors Cut (1981). 

Roberta Flack / Original Album Series box set

Roberta Flack (Rhino)

A great selection of some of Flack’s most acclaimed albums. The five in question are: First Take (1969), Quite Fire (1971), Killing Me Softly (1973), Feel Like Makin’ Love (1975), Blue Lights In The Basement (1977).

Paul Simon / Original Album Classics box set

Paul Simon (Sony/Columbia)

This three-CD set includes a few rather ‘forgotten’ albums including Songs From The Capeman (1997), You’re The One (2000,) and Surprise (2006).

The Replacements / Original Album Series box set

The Replacements (Rhino)

The influential American alternative rock band’s first five albums: Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash (1981), Hootenanny (1983), Let It Be (1984), Tim (1985) Pleased To Meet Me (1987).

Leonard Cohen / Original Album Classics box set

Leonard Cohen (Sony/Columbia)

Most of Cohen’s seventies output is represented here. The three albums are New Skin For The Old Ceremony (1974), the Spector-produced Death Of A Ladies Man (1977) and Recent Songs (1979).

Stone Temple Pilots / Original Album Series box set

Stone Temple Pilots (Rhino)

Californian band Stone Temple Pilots successfully rode the grunge wave in the early nineties and would produce four albums in that decade, with Shangri-la Dee Da their final album in 2001 before splitting up (they have recently reformed). All five of these albums – the others being Core, Purple, Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop, and No.4 – are included with this box.

Elvis Presley / Original Album Classics box set

Elvis Presley (Sony/RCA)

Five live albums from ‘The King’ from the late ’60s and early ’70s. They are the classic ’68 Comback Special (1968)Aloha from Hawaii (1973), On Stage (1970), That’s The Way It Is (1970), and Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis (1974).

Booker T. & The MG's Original Album Series box set

Booker T. & the MG’s (Rhino)

Here you will find the first five albums from Booker T. & the MG’s if you discount the In The Christmas Spirit from 1966 and the 1967 live album Back to Back. Green Onions (1962), Soul Dressing (1965), And Now! (1966), Hip Hug Her (1967) and Doin’ Our Thing (1968) are the records in question.

Also released: Krokus (3 album set), Paradise Lost (3 album set), and Johnny Winter (5 album set).

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Adam Baruch

The “Original Album Series” by Warner Bros. and the “Original Album Classics” by Sony are an archetypal example of how good intentions turn sour. Although these new editions often bring back to life some of the best music ever made on this planet, which in many cases have been lost in the tides of time and was unavailable on the market for ages, they suffer from an unforgivable disregard to the essence of cultural values and general sloppiness, contrary to human decency, which requires us to treat our cultural legacy with respect and loyalty. The box sets produced under these monikers have no discographical information whatsoever about the lineups, musician names, composers, lyricists, dates and places of recording, original release data and even basic copyright data (the last is strictly illegal BTW). Although the original LP sleeves are reproduced, they are often edited and information (which would be in most cases too small to be readable) is removed. In short the fact that these box sets are meant to be inexpensive, does not mean that they have to be cheap. Considering the fact how many times this music has been sold over and over again by the labels, this is a crying shame!


Aw, Adam, lighten up. ;) Considering all that extra data can be left out of more up-scale box sets (example Pretenders’ Pirate Radio), no need to get uptight about lack of liner notes on these bargain bin babies. If you want to know all that stuff, go looking for it online. Wikipedia, Discogs, etc. are your friends. Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying listening to old music (that may be new to me), while retaining some of my cash.

Steve Thorpe

Hi Paul – I want to get hold of the new King’s X box set from the Original Album Series, but really just want to know if they have altered the loudness from the original 1988-1994 Atlantic CDs? I’m not bothered about a complete remaster until the band and the label do this themselves, but if they’re carbon copies of the original pressings then there is no point picking them up at all…


Some very good selections there; I’ll be looking to get the Art Garfunkel and Roberta Flack sets in the near future. Even if they’re not freshly remastered or void of bonus material…the prices for these are always a big draw, and I grew up with 70s and 80s-mastered Warner CDs anyway!

Lonesome Crow

The Krokus release is a good deal.
The box include 3 albums of their early 80’s period, their best “Metal Rendez-Vous” also included.


James, many thanks for the advice. my Art collection (outside of a certain duo he was in) stands at a Greatest Hits and the magnificent Across America set, i am looking forward to this landing!


Lee – I can recommend the Art Garfunkel set, if only for Breakaway. An absolute gem of an album and one of my all time favourites. Worth it for that alone although the others are all very worthwhile.


I am very happy to see that Art Garfunkel’s Fate For Breakfast is available on CD somewhere other than amazon’s marketplace! Wonderful album, I love it, so might as well order that and see what the other four included are all about.


Scissors Cut is long out of print and now available again, that’s the good news. I’m don’t think that the 5 albums are remastered, that’s the bad news.

Scissors Cut is sophisticated and one of his most overlooked album, I think. I like the Westcoast sound of the album, and love the single ‘A Heart In New York’.


Any idea as to whether the Replacements box will contain the 2008 remastered CDs, or previous versions? Looks excellent value…


Thanks for the info Paul… it’s a great price so I imagine I will be tempted

Stevie Dal

These are great , i got the Warren Zevon one and can’t get past his first two albums, both superb and getting played all the time !
I can also recommend the Aztec Camera , Los Lobos and Echo & the Bunnymen ones, great value.