Super-deluxe box sets for the music freak on your Xmas list

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      If there's someone on your Christmas list who's a Beatles or a Stones fan--or, better yet, a Beatles and a Stones fan--then here's a couple of primo gift-giving options.

      Any Beatles freak would love to wrap his or her ears around the super-deluxe vinyl box-set edition of their final album release, Let It Be.

      (In case you didn't know, Abbey Road was actually the last album the Beatles ever recorded, but it was released eight months before Let It Be.)

      The big draw of the five-LP Let It Be box is the fact that it includes 27 previously unreleased outtakes, studio jams, and rehearsals. Other goodies include a four-track EP, a 14-track Get Back: Apple Sessions stereo LP mix compiled by engineer Glyn Johns in May 1969, and a 100-page hardcover book with an introduction by Paul McCartney, track-by-track recording information, and previously unseen photos.

      For those who are more into the Mick & Keith side of things, there's the super-deluxe 40th-anniversary edition of the Rolling Stones' 1981 album Tattoo You, which, as you may recall, featured such classic ditties as "Hang Fire", "Start Me Up", and "Waiting On a Friend".

      And who can forget the Keith Richards-sung ode to groupies, "Little T&A".

      The box set includes five 180-gram heavyweight vinyl discs, and features the original tracks remastered, "Lost and Found" (nine previously unreleased tracks), "Still Life" (a live recording from Wembley Stadium in 1982), a 124-page book, and lenticular artwork.

      If you just happen to be one of those detestable subhumans who doesn't care for either the Beatles or the Stones, but appreciates a wicked guitar player, there's a 50th-anniversary deluxe box set of Rory Gallagher's self-titled debut solo LP.

      The five-disc package includes a brand-new mix of the original album, 30 previously unreleased outtakes and alternate takes, a six-song 1971 BBC Radio John Peel Sunday Concert, and four 1971 BBC Radio Sounds of the Seventies session tracks.

      Also included is a previously unreleased 50-minute DVD of the Irish guitar hero's first-ever solo concert, which was filmed in Paris for the Pop Deux TV show.

      The box set comes with a 32-page hardback book featuring rare and previously unseen photographs, essays, and memorabilia from the album recording, and a limited-edition poster.

      If you're the type of patriotic nationalist who only buys deluxe box sets by Canadian artists, we've got you covered there as well.

      What red-blooded Canuck-rock fan wouldn't want a copy of the 30th-anniversary deluxe edition of The Tragically Hip's Road Apples. That's the 1991 Hip album that's almost as good as Fully Completely, the one that opens with "Little Bones". Yeah, you know it.

      The box set includes a remastered version of Road Apples, the Saskadelphia EP that was released earlier this year, and the 15-track Live At The Roxy Los Angeles, May 3rd 1991, originally recorded for a Westwood One radio show.

      But the best news for hardcore Hip fans is that the six-disc package comes with Hoof-Hearted, an album that includes outtakes of "Cordelia", "Fight", and "Born in the Water"; demo versions of "Bring It All Back" and "Cordelia" (when it was known as "Angst on the Planks"); alternative versions of "Fiddler's Green" and "Little Bones" (acoustic); the full length version of "The Last of the Unplucked Gems"; and the 1990 demo of a previously unreleased song called "If You Lived Here".

      The box set also sports a 36-page booklet featuring reproductions of original handwritten lyrics from Gord Downie’s personal notebooks, previously unpublished photos from the Road Apples era, and commentary from the band.

      If you're a Canuck-rock fan who loves the Guess Who, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Burton Cummings--and which Canuck-rock fan doesn't?--then the ultimate gift would be Bachman Cummings The Collection, a box set from former Guess Who bandmates Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings.

      The seven-LP or seven-CD set includes five Guess Who albums from their prolific 1969-1971 period--Wheatfield Soul, Canned Wheat, American Woman, Share the Land, and So Long, Bannatyne--plus material from BTO and Cummings' solo career.

      Bachman Cummings The Collection certainly does include a lot of the best music the two Canuck-rock legends ever created. My only complaint is that they forgot to include BTO's best tune, "Second Hand":