EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 22, 2013

Music ... Inside the Box


Dylan has two stocking-stuffers on offer. The first collects all his official live and studio albums, from his fresh-faced folkie, Woody Guthrie-mimicking, self-titled debut in 1962 to last year’s deathly “Tempest.” It’s not all brilliant, but it’s a bargain at less than $4 a disc.

Less of a cash outlay is needed for “Another Self-Portrait,” which rectifies one of Dylan’s weakest albums by stripping away perverse production touches, dropping some of the original’s head-scratching howlers (like Paul Simon’s “The Boxer”) and adding choice outtakes.

— D.D.

DONNY HATHAWAY “Never My Love: The Anthology,” (Rhino, 3 stars; 4 CDs, $38.33)

This collection is late to the Donny Hathaway revival party, with the likes of Alicia Keys and John Legend & the Roots covering songs by the classically trained soul man, who committed suicide in 1979.

“Never My Love” gathers hits like “The Ghetto” and Leon Russell’s “A Song For You,” unreleased tracks from the mid-1970s fallow period, when Hathaway was struggling with mental illness, and includes a live disc and duets with Roberta Flack.

It’s not definitive — gems like his cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” are missing. Still, there’s enough to convey the range of Hathaway’s talents and offer hard-core fans a fair share of previously unavailable nuggets.

— D.D.

RICHARD PRYOR, “No Pryor Restraint,” (Shout Factory, 4 stars; 7 CDs, 2 DVDs, $60.91)

Best standup comic ever? The case is made in this voluminous box, which starts off with Pryor, during a 1966 San Francisco gig, riffing on growing up in Peoria, Ill., and shows his improvisational powers at their scintillating peak in 1979’s “Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, “one of three full-length shows included in the package’s DVD discs. Mel Brooks, Bob Newhart and Dick Gregory testify to his greatness, and Pryor backs up their words on stage.

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