Patti Smith

The Patti Smith Masters: The Collective Works

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Although the six-disc box set The Patti Smith Masters: The Collective Works contains some of the most groundbreaking rock & roll ever recorded, Masters is essentially useless. The set contains all five of Patti Smith's albums from the '70s and '80s, which have all been digitally remastered and feature bonus tracks. A sixth disc, which was issued as a promotional item to radio, collects highlights from the five albums and functions as a greatest-hits package. On its own, it's quite an effective introduction, but as part of the box set, it is entirely superfluous -- everything on the disc, with the exception of "Summer Cannibals," taken from Gone Again, a 1996 album not included, is already in the box. Furthermore, the box contains no booklet, it just houses the six CDs. So, Masters serves no purpose. Completists will find all the songs on the standard issues of the album, casual fans will find it cheaper to buy the individual discs, and collectors will find that the value of the promotional disc is next to nothing, since thousands of copies were widely distributed.

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