In the Presents of Greatness

What to buy for the person who knows everything

. . . KEEP GETTING POMADE STAINS INSIDE THEIR COWBOY HAT: Bear Family is where God intended all worthy country/rockabilly reissues first take form; besides a million-CD Johnny Cash box set series, you might want to grab the Wanda Jackson 4XCD (with book!). Her supercharged country-vixen wail still curl hair, and you can even top that off with the Memphis Belles six-CD set featuring all the girls who were recording at Sun Records alongside Johnny and Jerry Lee, including Jerry Lee's little sis Linda, who thankfully Jerry Lee never tried to marry. Or maybe go harder country with eight CDs (and a monster book) on Willie Nelson, or six on Texas Playboy Bob Wills, or the just-out Chet Atkins (the guy who made Eddie Cochran buy a Gretsch) box, too.

. . . SQUEAL FOR ASHLEE/JESSICA/BRITNEY/ETC.: In all seriousness, there's a lot of potential here for something constructive—underrated rock loon Metal Mike noted that Radio Disney (the Indie 103 of the Spongebob set) wiggles the Ramones and the Turtles in between the sparkle-magic computer pop, and that's because there's a part of pop that can connect to anybody. Give kids some credit for sophistication, and look at anything absolutely classic from about '55 through '63 because the infancy of rock & roll sounds great to infants; it's got something to do with the analog production. But when you buy them the Back to Mono Spector box set, save the part about how Phil shot that lady until your little buddy finishes dancing to "Be My Baby." Also: early Beach Boys or Chuck Berry.

. . . CAN'T GET OVER BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, REM AND PEARL JAM: Get them a nose-hair trimmer.

MOST RELEASES AVAILABLE LOCALLY OR DIRECT VIA THE INTERNET.

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