Music fans may be hard to please come this holiday season. There are no concert tickets to stuff into their stocking, and they likely already subscribe to a streaming service, which means they have access to zillions of songs. But nowadays, that just means artists and their record labels are extra motivated to unearth, and lavishly package, the demos, alternate takes, live recordings, videos and scrapbooks that will superserve even the most know-it-all music geek. So dig into the season’s most-wanted box sets, audio gear, music books and even instruments, and start the holidays on the best possible note.
Plenty of people had hits with Shel Silverstein’s songs, but he had no better interpreter than Bobby Bare, a gentle giant of 1970s progressive country. The pair grew close as both friends and collaborators, resulting in Bare recording more than 100 Silverstein tunes between 1972 and 1983. All those recordings are in this eight-disc box, a set that highlights the duo’s knack for lullabies, legends and down-and-dirty country.