Give the gift of music with DVDs, CD box sets, music bios, headphones and more. These trinkets represent this season’s best audio delights.
James Brown, “Live At The Boston Garden: April 5th, 1968” (Shout Factory), $ 13.98: The day after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Brown gave a televised concert in Boston that was later credited with keeping the city safe. A new, expanded look at the show captures every bit of the history, tension and funk.
Whitney Houston, “Live: Her Greatest Performances” (Sony), $ 13.99: As much power as Whitney unleashed on her studio recordings, only live did she hit her peak. This CD/DVD set concentrates on her most robust years, capturing a singer who could improvise and swoop, enchant and surprise.
Captain Beefheart, “Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972,” (Rhino) $ 59.98: Following his 1969 masterpiece “Trout Mask Replica,” the Captain created three classic albums, featuring more accessible, but no less exciting, tracks. The four-CD set includes the original discs plus 14 worthy rarities cut at the same sessions.
Queen, “Live at the Rainbow 1974” (Hollywood Records), $ 19.89: Before they cut the grandiose “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen had a harder, cleaner sound. You can hear it idealized in this DVD of a cocky British show, recorded right after they issued “Sheer Heart Attack.”
“Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin” by David Ritz (Little, Brown), $ 30: Ten years ago, Ritz wrote a highly censored, official bio of Aretha. He more than makes up for the omissions in that tome with this. It’s the most revealing and well-rounded portrait of the Queen ever written.
Johnny Winter, “True To The Blues” (Legacy), $ 49.99 : A four-CD box set, “Blues” chronicles one of the most fiery and fleet guitarists of all time, who died in July, just five months after turning 70.
Rocki Wi-Fi Music System, $ 49: Want to blast any music you receive on a tiny mobile device from your big, bold analog speakers? Simply affix the tiny Rocki gadget to said speaker and it will wirelessly play music from your phone, tablet or other device of your choice.
50 Cent’s SMS Wireless Sport Headphones ($ 79,95 to $ 229.95, depending on added gadgets): Nobody likes sweating up headphones during a workout. Fiddy’s team came up with a solution: These sweat-proof, water-resistant headphones look as clean as they sound.
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