A love Deluxe


Back in 2018, I posted a piece about the changing way artist compilations (a.k.a greatest hits / best of releases) were viewed in the post-digital, post-Spotify age. And how dissatisfied I’d become with them, when my envisaged future of endless, perfectly-archived and studiously-stored music catalogues by the labels and artists didn’t come to pass.

There was a promise that afdpj would post up some examples of the meticulously researched (it says here) and more thorough anthologies that took up so much of my time. Well, as many of my old schoolteachers would tell you, I have a habit of starting projects and never finishing them. Never even starting them properly sometimes (and with that in mind, it’s quite remarkable how many of these sets I have completed!).

I may one day return to the subject and throw a little more light on the processes I slogged through and some of the more rewarding results that transpired, but for now that moment has passed.

(A short interval while we solemnly reflect upon an unfulfilled blogpost idea).

Right. Now onto the subject at hand; a not-totally-unrelated matter which, in some respects, has been one of the reasons for such a lack of new posts on amazinglyfewdiscothequesprovidejukeboxes during a miserable 2021. Deluxe Editions. Super Deluxe Editions. Completely over-the-top multi-disc editions of a single album. Up to 8 (EIGHT!) CDs to cover the material from one record. One era.


(Other artists are also available, and have been duly deluxed).

A quick glance at the data (my “Deluxe Edition” folder in Windows Explorer) reveals that somehow I’ve managed to finish almost 50 (fifty!) of these things during this calendar year. When I approached the idea of making my very first, in November 2019 – a 6CD version of David Bowie’s Never Let Me Down – I never imagined my hobby would become an obsession. To paraphrase the late, great Dame David, it’s become a case of “…and the next one, and the next, and another one”.

So, what is it that compels me to create these homemade Deluxe Editions?

Obviously, I have to like the album in question, otherwise who wants to spend hours and £££s tracking down and sorting out all the mixes, edits, B-sides, outtakes, demos and whatnot from a particular era. However, given that I enjoy such a wealth of music, that hardly narrows it down too much!

Yet simply being an all-time favourite album doesn’t automatically lend it to being an afdpj deluxe. Some of those – Songs From The Big Chair, Tango In The Night, Sign O The Times, Dare, The Lexicon Of Love, New Gold Dream, Hunting High & Low, The Seeds Of Love – have already been given an official boxset treatment. Others, such as Actually, Purple Rain and Hats – have expanded reissues that cover enough of the material to not urgently need addressing any further.


Tears For Fears…already taken care of in the official Deluxe universe. 

If the amount of available extra material is on the slim side, due to licensing issues, artist reticence or just the fact that there were very few B-sides and 7″/12″ mixes (hello Sade! hello Billy Joel!), then they also get taken out of the reckoning.

Of course, nothing is cut and dried; there are many official expanded editions and deluxes that I have found wanting in various ways. Nasty brickwalled sound, remastering errors or poorly transferred vinyl/mp3 sourcing, omitted track(s) because the artist didn’t want them included, missing edits and mixes that have simply gone AWOL through the passage of time and endless record label mergers and handovers. Market considerations and product viability also come into the equation; to take the example of that initial Never Let Me Down affair, the actual demand for a six-disc examination of Bowie’s generally least-loved album would be minimal!

In the fantasy world of personal playlists and homemade boxsets, on the other hand, anything goes. Not even ZTT/Salvo in their craziest moments would contemplate an eight-disc version of Propaganda’s 1985 debut A Secret Wish. But I took it on and, eventually after several rainchecks, it now exists (more on that one at a later date perhaps).

Even if a “proper” special edition is out there, I may still grumble to myself that things are missing, this was the wrong mix, that was sequenced badly, and that SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE.


It’s not enough….Universal issued a 2-disc special edition of Swing Out Sister’s debut…but AFDPJ wanted more.

If you hadn’t already twigged, doing things properly matters a lot to me. Whether in my own creations, or the creations of others. Things are best in my world when they are done properly. Yes there are more important things in the bigger picture, but if I can put the small stuff to rights in my world of collecting and listening to music, then it’s worthwhile.

If I can offset the regular disappointment of the often careless approach reissues and boxsets that I buy, as well as work a bit of wish-fulfillment into it by putting together “fantasy” deluxe editions that have yet to appear, and quite probably won’t ever come to fruition for a variety of reasons, then why not get stuck in?

Not all my efforts are equal; I can do a straightforward 2CD job with one version/mastering of the main album simply joined by a disc of single mixes and B-sides, and then immerse myself in something like the 6CD Here’s To Future Days that only the absolute Thompson Twins diehard would ever be interested in.

Mostly, the amount of available source material dictates the size of the project. If there are already a selection of remasters, reissues, expanded editions (and even boxsets) covering an album in circulation (as with Raintown by Deacon Blue) then it becomes an exercise in sifting through everything, weeding out duplicate tracks, restoring the original LP running order, assigning bonus tracks to the discs that I would prefer them to belong to, and so on.

Occasionally, I will design or rather deconstruct and re-purpose the artwork, again depending on available source material and whether what I can reasonably come up with is good enough to replace the official cover. The DVD-sized case style which I have settled upon for all my deluxes tends to dictate the possibilities more often than not. I like to use as many visual elements from the original LP/CD release as I can. That can be a lot of fun, or else incredibly frustrating!


An early snapshot of AFDPJ‘s deluxes as they are stored on the shelf; every one a studio album (at least up to Tori Amos) and all in chronological release order. There are now so many that the artist anthologies get their own section.

The inspiration for drawing up potential albums to “deluxe” can strike almost randomly. While I do keep a list of titles that could be turned into prospective multi-disc affairs, there is no real method to it – a real-world reissue can often be a trigger (if it fails to meet my expectations or is clearly not going to be as thorough as it could be), but most of the time it’ll be from digging deeper into an artist’s work and really getting into all the albums, then wanting to hear/collect the relevant singles and extra tracks associated with the period.

A few have even resulted from blog posts I’ve written on here (Sting, ABC and Madness). So it’s only right and fair that I begin sharing a selection of these homemade fantasy Super Deluxe Editions on here too.

Watch this space.



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