★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"This set comprises Al Stewart's first three albums (1967-70) and his two biggest hits (1976-78), so in some respects it is an odd sampling of his long and fruitful recording career. However, if you're only familiar with Al's hits of the 70s, this would be a fine and inexpensive way to hear his beginnings as one of the key figures in the 1960s British folk scene.
All of the discs are in cardboard replicas of the original LP sleeves, which are very nicely done. None of the discs contain any of the bonus tracks which have appeared on other editions of these CDs, but they are all from recent masters and sound great. The original US CD of "Year of the Cat" on Arista was one of the worst-sounding CDs of a major album ever released, and so if you have the misfortune of owning that edition, then you urgently need to upgrade!
The real prize here, though, which may interest those who already own an extensive library of Al Stewart recordings, is that this set includes Al's first album, "Bedsitter Images", in its original 1967 format with the original cover and track selection rather than that of the more common 1970 reissue. If, like me, you've never been willing to pay the astronomical prices commanded by the original British vinyl edition on the collectors market, here is your chance to have a nice replica of it, even including the original sleeve notes on the back cover. All in all, if this set interests you, you will probably find it to be a very worthwhile purchase.