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Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra Records 1963-1973

While debates rage on regarding the most "important" decade of popular-music history, Forever Changing comes along and blows the competition out of the water with this amazing and diverse five-disc collection of 119 songs. If anyone had a finger on the musical pulse of the tumultuous '60s, it was Elektra label founder Jac Holzman. While the label officially started in 1950, it is this box set's targeted decade that best exemplifies the era.

Tapping into the folk movement, Holzman put out the definitive songs by artists such as Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Tim Buckley and Tom Paxton. He also caught on early to the emerging hard-rock scene, and worked with trendsetters such as the Doors, Love, MC5 and the Stooges. As the '70s came around, Holzman found success in the smoother sounds of Carly Simon, Bread and Harry Chapin. Not everything worked, but the great stuff (Crabby Appleton's obscure but addictive "Go Back") far outweighs the weaker artists (Jobriah, a poor man's David Bowie). Within this box set, history awaits your ears. 4 stars.

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