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A&M Records' three-CD Styx box set Chronicles is nothing more or less than three of the band's albums -- 1976's Crystal Ball, 1977's The Grand Illusion, and 1978's Pieces of Eight -- packaged together. In fact, it looks as though all the label did was take the discs and their one-sheet CD booklets out of their jewel boxes and stick them in a ten-and-a-half by five-and-three-quarters-inch box. Thus, the collection consists of the 1987 CD reissue of Pieces of Eight, the 1988 CD reissue of Crystal Ball, and the 1990 CD reissue of The Grand Illusion. The sound quality tends to be somewhat boxy by later standards, particularly on Crystal Ball, and the information in the booklets is sparse, though The Grand Illusion does boast a lyric sheet. It's hard to avoid the speculation that A&M is planning long-overdue upgrades of these albums, the first three to be made by Styx's classic lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Chuck Panozzo, John Panozzo, Tommy Shaw, and James Young, and simply attempting to reduce its existing inventory of early-CD-era transfers by repackaging them and putting them out at a discount price (i.e., generally under $30 at retail). There is nothing new here for Styx fans, unless they never got around to replacing their old vinyl, but new fans are provided a quick way of obtaining three of the major albums in the group's catalog.

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