CDs are cool, right? Or more like six of them. And a CD Boxset at that. Wow. Covering 1973-1995, Playback is the first box set from @tompettyofficial ... You have three CDs which not only have all the hits, but also some selected album tracks and deep cuts which show that the band was definitely not a singles act at all, and they had really good album tracks. But for me, the real draw here are Discs 4, 5, and 6, with one CD having some b-sides, and the other two with rarities and unreleased stuff, most of it actually being nearly as good and enjoyable as the stuff they did get released. And some of it even better! You even have some Mudcrutch demos! The other awesome part is the book, with commentary on each of the songs, and even the rarities! Not to mention it’s got some digital remastering voodoo utilizing “HDCD” technology! But the treasure trove of unreleased stuff, etc is something I sorely miss from the CD era. These big career spanning vault clearing boxes are a rarity this day and age and I certainly miss it. Sure, vinyl is cool and everything, but it’s not often you get something of this caliber. You may get some liner notes if you’re lucky.
Memphis Bleek - 534 (2005)
Bleek's fourth solo effort, an overlooked album produced by Just Blaze, Swizz Beatz, Bink, 9th Wonder and others. With the exception of some commercial tracks like the singles "Like That" and "Infatuated", there are great cuts here. First of all, it contains "Dear Summer", which is really a Jay-Z solo track, a true masterpiece, sampling Weldon Irvine's "Morning Sunrise". Then, there is "Straight Path" (my fave cut), one of the realest tracks with another great sample, Al Green's "Something". The album is worth buying for these two tracks alone. Other standout songs are "All About Me" (sample: Slow Tongue by Millie Jackson), "Alright" (sample: Trace your Love by Joe Simon), "First, Last & Only" (ft. M.O.P.), "Smoke the Pain Away", "The One" (the first ever appearance from Rihanna).
The title of the album is a reference to the address of Marcy Houses, 534 Flushing Ave., where Jay-Z and Bleek grew up.