Hello, I'm Red Simpson

The trend toward album-specific box sets continued unabated in 2012 but the year produced a few stunners, particularly the Deluxe Edition of Paul McCartney's Ram -- complete with the original mono mix, never before released on CD -- and the Velvet Underground & Nico Super Deluxe Edition unearthed significant rarities, including the original acetate version of the album. Elsewhere, the seminal soul label Philadelphia International received a thorough tribute, a bunch of rare surf singles were excavated on Surf-Age Nuggets, the Kinks' BBC sessions were boxed, and Bear Family offered three typically excellent country box sets (the complete recordings of truck-driving country king Red Simpson, the MCA work of Merle Haggard, Buck Owens' last years at Capitol). Comprehensive sets featuring the complete recordings of Roxy Music and English Beat were trumped by the ludicrously large Blur 21, a box containing double-disc versions of every one of the Brit-pop band's albums plus a wealth of unheard rarities. And then there was Dr. Feelgood's All Through the City, a four-disc set collecting all of the long-running pub rock band's early albums with Wilko Johnson. It may not have gotten as much press as some of these other boxes -- it never saw a stateside release -- but it's arguably the best box released in 2012.

10cc - Tenology
Blue Öyster Cult - The Complete Columbia Albums Collectiön
Blur - Blur 21
Can - The Lost Tapes
Johnny Cash - The Complete Columbia Album Collection
Dr. Feelgood - All Through the City (With Wilko 1974-1977)
The English Beat - The Complete Beat
Peter Gabriel - So
Woody Guthrie - Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial
Genius/GZA - Liquid Swords
Merle Haggard - Troubadour
Michael Jackson - Bad
Al Kent - The Best of Disco Demands
The Kinks - The Kinks at the BBC
Jerry Lee Lewis - The Killer Live (1964-1970)
Paul & Linda McCartney - Ram
Buck Owens - Tall Dark Stranger
The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
Preservation Hall Jazz Band - 50th Anniversary Collection
Roxy Music - The Complete Studio Recordings
Red Simpson - Hello, I'm Red Simpson
The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico
Bill Withers - The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums
Various Artists - Philadelphia International Records: The 40th Anniversary Box Set
Various Artists - Sound System: The Story of Jamaican Music
Various Artists - Surf-Age Nuggets:Trash & Twang Instrumentals 1959-1966

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Box Sets of 2012 in this playlist: