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Parlophone call time on the David Bowie ‘Heroes’ replacement programme

Parlophone will no longer replace copies of David Bowie‘s 1977 album Heroes, which suffer from the ‘loss of energy’ issue on the title track, that are included in the A New Career In A New Town box set.

This issue was well reported on SDE (you can read the initial coverage here, and then peruse the follow-up post) and resulted in the record label offering CD or vinyl replacements to those who wanted them.

Parlophone clearly feel that fans have had enough time to claim their replacement and now issue the following response to any requests:

“The offer for replacement discs of “Heroes” from the David Bowie box set “A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)” has now come to an end. We apologise for the inconvenience, and understand it must be disappointing. However, the version of the album with the updated “Heroes” is available from all streaming and download services, as well as on individual CD and LP via all good physical outlets.”

Of course, anyone late to the party for whatever reason – perhaps you have been holding off buying the box in the hope of a future ‘deal alert’ – isn’t going to be overjoyed at this news, because you know you are buying an imperfect product, and the cost of fixing that problem will now lay with you, not the record label.

A New Career In A New Town was issued at the end of September last year. A similar box set featuring Bowie’s eighties solo output is widely expected to be issued later in 2018.

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DAVID BOWIE / A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN (1977-1982)

13LP Box Set:

84 Page hardback book

Low (remastered) (1LP)
“Heroes” 
(remastered) (1LP)
“Heroes” E.P. 
(remastered) (12” Single)*
Stage 
(remastered) (2LP Yellow Vinyl) *
Stage (2017) 
(remastered)  (3LP)
Lodger 
(remastered) (1LP)
Lodger 
(Tony Visconti 2017 Mix) (1LP)*
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
 (1LP)
Re:Call 3 
(non-album singles, single versions and b-sides) (remastered) (2LP)*

* Exclusive to ‘A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)’

11 CD Box Set:

128 Page hardback book

Low (remastered) (1CD)
“Heroes” 
(remastered) (1CD)
“Heroes” E.P. 
(remastered) (CD EP)*
Stage 
(remastered) (2CD)*
Stage (2017) 
(remastered) (2CD)
Lodger 
(remastered) (1CD)
Lodger 
(Tony Visconti 2017 Mix) (1CD)*
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) 
(1CD)

Re:Call 3 (non-album singles, single versions and b-sides) (remastered) (1CD)*

* Exclusive to ‘A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)’


Detailed CD & Vinyl Tracklistings (showing Vinyl side breaks)

A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN (1977-1982)

LOW

Released on RCA PL 12030 (U.K.) / CPL1-2030 (U.S.) on 14thJanuary, 1977.

Side 1
1. Speed Of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. What In The World
4. Sound And Vision
5. Always Crashing In The Same Car
6. Be My Wife
7. A New Career In A New Town

Side 2
1. Warszawa
2. Art Decade
3. Weeping Wall
4. Subterraneans

“HEROES”

Released on RCA PL 12522 (U.K.) / AFL1-2522 (U.S.) on 14th October, 1977.

Side 1
1. Beauty And The Beast
2. Joe The Lion
3. “Heroes”
4. Sons Of The Silent Age
5. Blackout

Side 2
1. V-2 Schneider
2. Sense Of Doubt
3. Moss Garden
4. Neuköln
5. The Secret Life Of Arabia

“HEROES” E.P.
Side 1
1. “Heroes”/”Helden” (German album version)
2. “Helden” (German single version)

Side 2
1. “Heroes”/”Héros” (French album version)
2. “Héros” (French single version)

STAGE (Original)

Released on RCA PL 02913 (U.K.) / CPL2-2913 (U.S.) on 8thSeptember, 1978.

Side 1
1. Hang On To Yourself
2. Ziggy Stardust
3. Five Years
4. Soul Love
5. Star

Side 2
1. Station To Station
2. Fame
3. TVC 15

Side 3
1. Warszawa
2. Speed Of Life
3. Art Decade
4. Sense Of Doubt
5. Breaking Glass

Side 4
1. “Heroes”
2. What In The World
3. Blackout
4. Beauty And The Beast

STAGE (2017)
Side 1
1. Warszawa
2. “Heroes”
3. What In The World

Side 2
1. Be My Wife
2. The Jean Genie *
3. Blackout
4. Sense Of Doubt

Side 3
1. Speed Of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. Beauty And The Beast
4. Fame

Side 4
1. Five Years
2. Soul Love
3. Star
4. Hang On To Yourself
5. Ziggy Stardust
6. Suffragette City *

Side 5
1. Art Decade
2. Alabama Song
3. Station To Station

Side 6
1. Stay
2. TVC 15

* Previously unreleased

LODGER

Released on RCA PL 13254 (U.K.) / APL1-3254 (U.S.) on 18th May, 1979.

LODGER (2017 Tony Visconti mix)
Side 1
1. Fantastic Voyage
2. African Night Flight
3. Move On
4. Yassassin (Turkish for: Long Live)
5. Red Sails

Side 2
1. D.J.
2. Look Back In Anger
3. Boys Keep Swinging
4. Repetition
5. Red Money

SCARY MONSTERS (AND SUPER CREEPS)

Released on RCA BOWLP 2 (PL 13647) (U.K.) / AQL1-3647 (U.S.) on 12th September, 1980.

Side 1
1. It’s No Game (Part 1)
2. Up The Hill Backwards
3. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
4. Ashes To Ashes
5. Fashion

Side 2
1. Teenage Wildlife
2. Scream Like A Baby
3. Kingdom Come
4. Because You’re Young
5. It’s No Game (Part 2)

RE:CALL 3
Side 1
1. “Heroes” (single version)
2. Beauty And The Beast (extended version)
3. Breaking Glass (Australian single version)
4. Yassassin (single version)
5. D.J. (single version)

Side 2
1. Alabama Song
2. Space Oddity (1979 version)
3. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
4. Fashion (single version)
5. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (single version)

Side 3
1. Crystal Japan
2. Under Pressure (single version) – Queen and David Bowie
3. Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (soundtrack album version)
4. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy * – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
* mono

Side 4
Bertolt Brecht’s Baal
1. Baal’s Hymn
2. Remembering Marie A.
3. Ballad Of The Adventurers
4. The Drowned Girl
5. The Dirty Song

The running order for Re:Call 3 CD differs from the vinyl version

1. “Heroes” (single version)
2. Beauty And The Beast (extended version)
3. Breaking Glass (Australian single version)
4. Yassassin (single version)
5. D.J. (single version)
6. Alabama Song
7. Space Oddity (1979 version)
8. Ashes To Ashes (single version)
9. Fashion (single version)
10.Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (single version)
11.Crystal Japan
12.Under Pressure (single version) – Queen and David Bowie

Bertolt Brecht’s Baal
13.Baal’s Hymn
14.Remembering Marie A.
15.Ballad Of The Adventurers
16.The Drowned Girl
17.The Dirty Song
18.Cat People (Putting Out Fire) (soundtrack album version)

19.Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy * – David Bowie and Bing Crosby
* mono

 

 

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72 Comments

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Gisabun

This is really a pathetic excuse by them. People are still buying the box set. I bought mine during Christmas 2019.
I am not really surprised with their dickering with the fans with all these crappy releases – just gauging the fans with more and more overpriced releases.
Space Oddity vinyl picture disc at something like $60.
Conversation Piece at over $100.
Let alone plenty of material not included in either of the 4 box sets.
Wait until the Black Tie White noise and releases after that where just about every release had at least one bonus disc [and bonus DVDs].

Darren Hunt

Label took months to reply and guess what, oh, it’s too late, you’ll have to buy your own separate replacement at full price from all ‘good’ record stores!
Pathetic!!!

Diego

Is there any way to recognise the two different versions of the Heroes other than listening to them? I have both, and I’m scared to mix them…

Matt Charles

In case anyone reads this,, is Download the only way to get the other version, or is there a CD/issue date/code, so you know if you’re buying the corrected/latest version on a single CD?

Tony Covarrubias

I just bought the set (o2/25/19) and was wondering whether or not my set has the “good” version of Heroes? Anyway to tell, other than listening for the error? I would assume that there were more pressings of the box after the initial one with the disc error. Maybe not?

Joanne Nugent

I just got this box set as a gift for my birthday. After listening to it, and finding Heroes sounded funny I did an internet search on the issue, which brought me to the Warner disc replacement program. I then proceeded to contact Warner for a disc replacement only to get the response posted in this article.

I feel pretty bummed. Just the idea that Warner is knowingly selling “defective” sets makes me angry. If the itsm wasn’t a gift from my hubby, I would be returning the box set to the store, just out of my anger.

Dan

This box set appears to be slowly drying up, it’s no longer readily available on Amazon UK. I bit the bullet and bought the vinyl box, I’m not risking missing out like I did with Five Years, which now goes for £900.

Douglas Bailey

I’ve been going back and forth with Parlophone over the replacement disc for my vinyl set. They claim they’ve shipped the disc, but since they’ve claimed that twice before, I’m not holding out much hope…

SANDY COWAN

IF TESCO ADVERTISE A 6 PACK OF EGGS WITH ONE BROKEN YOU GONNA BUY IT? WHAT ABOUT IF WAITROSE SELL A LOAF OF BREAD WITH A MOULDY SLICE….STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS PEOPLE OR LOSE THEM.

wayne klein

First kudos to Parolphone for doing the right thing in the first place (they could have just ignored consumer complaints and stated that’s the way the tapes sound!). Second, boo to Parolphone for discontinuing the program so quickly. They should have announced a drop dead date to begin with and also should sent the replacement discs to retailers to add to the set (shrinkwrapped but separate).

If you had evidence (an old email for example) that you had contacted them for the replacement before the date, the least they could do is provide the non-gold garden variety release to consumers.

Unlike the Otis Redding set where they never did replace the flawed version of “Sitting On The Dock of The Bay”, I commend them for at least attempting this but customer service for the major labels sure has gotten shoddy over the years especially Rhino/Warner.

Stephen

I would have preferred it if they replaced Re:Call 3 with another version containing the Aussie 9’20” single version of Cat People (putting out fire) instead of the album version which doesn’t fit in with the spirit of these releases. That annoys me more than the faulty “Heroes” disc did.

RP

I asked for a replacement, twice. I heard nothing back an never got it. Thanks for nothing Parlophone.

Zongadude

I never cared for the original “mix error” in the first place, but I asked for a replacement Lp anyway.
The replacement Lp arrived….. with Side 2 completely unlistenable because of a lot of surface noises and clicks and pops. :) (I’m not the only one, you can read the reactions on the Steve Hoffman forum). So to me it’s a good thing they have stopped offering this mockery of a replacement Lp, in my humble opinion.
The original box set Lp (with the “loss of energy”) is really not that horrible. (that’s what I thought on release day, and that’s what I’m still thinking today). I’m totally getting along with it.
Now bring on the 4th box set, please ! ;)

fitzysbuna

thanks to you Paul that I was able to get my replacement !

Chris

Come on Paul, this is not on. I applied for my vinyl copy in April. Got a message back that it was being processed. Then I received a message at the beginning of May from a kate (in Warner’s customer services) adding I was too late and I can buy my replacement from all good retailers! Oblivious to the fact that,
1/ I have already spent £180 on my boxset.
2/ What am I supposed to buy? I guess there has been no nationwide recall. So I keep buying copies until I get lucky?
I have received no acknowledgment of my legitimate questions as yet. Terrible attitude from Warner’s. I think they have just made a bad situation worse. How can an industry behave this way to their customers. Absolute disgrace. They should honour all requests with a legitimate receipt. What does it cost to the might of Warner’s. T

Auntie Sabrina

Chris, I’d read

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

You could also ask your debit card provider about Chargeback, or at least mention this to the retailer you bought the boxset from.

Chris

Thanks for that. But it’s more the principal. Warner’s make a mistake. Ok, it happens. Just put it right. What’s the sense of admitting it, offering a solution only to slam the door in your customers face. Why do Warner’s think they are exempt of reasonable customer service just because they are in the entertainment business. Plus, what denotes a corrected version of the album.

Paul Sherwin

Sent mine back And I wouldn’t buy it again anyway the mastering was that hot on all the cd’s no dynamics too much compression faults on heroes I’ll stick with my RCA Originals far better. Nice box though.

Marcelo Gobello

I got mine a couple of weeks ago, and I live in ARGENTINA!!!
Thanks Paul, your site is wonderfull and I check it every day!!!
Thanks thanks Thanks

Garry

I think the over the top reaction to this announcement is ridiculous. ANCIANT is a superb collection of some of Bowie’s most beloved music. The presentation, content and quality is up there with the best, apart from one (significant) sonic flaw on one song. Anyone who is passionate enough to care care about this flaw, and I count myself as one, would have purchased ANCIANT long ago and received the replacement disc.
Calm down people.

GentleRabbit

The worst thing about this is suddenly discontinuing the replacement program without any warning.

If indeed the master tape decision was intentional (I’ve tried, but I just don’t but it), then that’s one thing. Mistakes can occur, even on projects like this. Parlophone apologising and offering replacements were wise and professionally-handled decisions. But really, would an end-date, final call or grace period been too much to ask? It just feels unprofessional and almost sours an otherwise positive and generous gesture.

Hopefully Parlophone can find the time and resources to assist anyone sill in need of a replacement disc.

Steven

Such a weird decision for a record company to have made in the first place. If I’ve got it right, it was to include a defective version of a song (‘Heroes’ no less!) because that’s now its condition on the master tape. What kind of thinking was that?

I wonder what silly decisions they might make for the next box set. We will wait and see…

Dave

Parlaphone should now open a case for replacement disc s for tulls heavy horse s new shoes dvd2 has a manufacturing flaw and needs addressing ! Many have complained on various sites .
We live in hope ?

Dean

There is no error in the Heavy Horses set.

Dave

Maybe you r one of the lucky ones then . Have you read complaints online ???

RJS

A few seconds of inferior sound at the end of one song on a box set containing 113 tracks and people are talking about class action lawsuits? Grow up, kids.

Chris

It’s not ridiculous. If you are releasing a classic set of albums for a premium price, get it right or just do not bother. Warners (loss of energy) excuse was a nonsense. If Steven Wilson had headed up the project it would have been a thousand times better. Care and attention to detail should not be to much to ask for at £180. Once heard, it ruins the track and the point is it’s not any track. It’s Heroes. I ask you, how could any engineer (worth their salt) let it go through to press. If you cannot be arsed to look after an artists legacy and just fleece the people who actually care you should be called out for what you are.

Schu

Ridiculous customer service for an expensive product that essentially has a partial recall, and the ‘fix’ is no longer available for free. This wouldn’t fly in most other industries where physical products are being replaced.

Kevin Galliford

Paid 48 pounds for my CD boxset after VAT was deducted! Now bring on the next 2 boxsets!!

Shawn

I’ve never understood the furor over this issue. Seems very petty in the grand scheme of things. I purchased the boxset right after it was released and was very happy with it. When Parlophone offered the replacement, I requested it and received it. I think it was pretty cool of them to do it at all.

I’m sure the folks who were moaning about this issue and giving the boxset one star reviews OVER ONE SONG at the beginning didn’t go back and pull down their one star reviews, even though they received a new replacement disc. Now there are a bunch of folks moaning about the replacement being discontinued months after the release who never even bought it! Ridiculous.

Mar Wolfgang

The box-set has simply gone up in value with the defected LP, plus they did send a replacement copy for those that bothered sending a request. Those that missed out, buying an extra LP is nothing to write home about. It is understandable that the record company pulls the plug at a given point.

Nick

I got my replacement but decided that moment it arrived I’d be keeping it sealed in it’s mailer and wrapping as a possible future collectible. I got one of the standalone pressings for near to nothing anyway.

Peter Stevens

Just don’t expect a lot (any?)interest when you try and sell out the next one later in the year

Gis Bun

Wondered if Parlophone bothered tio even pull the “defective” copies that are left or even bothered to use a different SKU.

Robert

If I understand it correctly : I won’t get an replacement disc, if I would buy this boxset now. Or did they mention a date when it ends ?

Megatof

Sadly I’m the customer you describe: I was waiting for my birthday to buy it. Now I know I won’t. Thank you for sharing the info…

Dean

You’re going to hold off buying a 11-CD box set, because you have to buy a replacement for ONE disc, at a very low price? Wow.

Auntie Sabrina

The discs in the boxset have a gold play side, unlike any replacement disc you buy yourself

Robert

Yes, the article is clear … don’t be mad at me !

I think that Parlophone should have announced this sooner. If they would have said one month ago : “on 8 June we will stop sending a replacement disc”, then I would not have any problem with this. But this is very sudden and people who are thinking about buying the CD boxset or the vinyl boxset, will not get a replacement disc for free.

Michael Fortin

Playing devil’s advocate – maybe keeping the logistics in place for having to send out only a few discs a month might be a headache for them?

Kauwgompie

Paul, how does that work, do they do one giant print of these box sets in the beginning or do they keep printing this box so they could potentially update the box with a correct disc?

This is pretty incredible. What is it to them? Sending out a replacement disc surely couldn’t cost an arm and a leg. In the beginning they must have dealt with a wave of requests but that must have died down to trickle at this point. And then you don’t even update future box sets with the correct disc? Thankfully I got my replacement disc.

Gorecki

Maybe they also only did just one run of the replacement disc (perhaps less than the quantity of original duff boxes knowing that a fair number of people won’t apply for a replacement) and have now simply run out?

It’s obviously a nuisance for those who will, in the future, buy the box but those who already have bought a copy have had 6+ months to send a single short email. Maybe all future purchases of this box should come with a free copy of the standard (corrected) off-the-shelf copy of Heroes – then they can slip it into a white paper sleeve and pop it in the box and it’ll be identical to everybody else’s box! ;)

Thankfully, after a seemingly interminable wait, my replacement arrived yesterday. Phew!

Kauwgompie

Thanks Paul. So I get that new box sets still have the faulty disc but to then not offer the replacement….incredible. So anyone who buys the box from now on is just out of luck.

Michael Wiley

Hey, Paul, is there nothing you can do to influence Warners on this regrettable decision? I had tried right out of the gate twice and gotten no response back. Life being what it is, I had other things to deal with (a leaky roof, sadly, being one of them – how’s that for a song?) and literally was getting ready to write to Warner again when I saw your posting. Surely those of us who have either tried in vain and gotten no reply OR those who purchased this set and didn’t know they had a choice in getting it replaced ought to have a bit more fair warning – say, “We will be discontinuing this replacement program on x date.”

Edwin Muller

What mix is exactly used for the fixed heroes. Is it an update on the Visconti mix or is of the mix that was previously issued? I do have the box, but also an older cd.

Geert

At least the replacement discs were sent out. When the 2015 John Lennon vinyl box came out, the Rock N Roll album contained the same song twice (and left of another). Pretty shocking and of a whole other level than Bowie’s ‘loss of energy’. A replacement disc was promised by Universal Music, and customer details were taken. Nothing happened after that, and I’m still waiting …

Phil Salter

I got mine!! Took a while but it arrived

Piotr

I registered for a replacement CD (two box sets bought) as soon as it was announced. After months of waiting, and having received emails that my replacements will be mailed out soon nothing arrived. I contacted the replacement customer service and was sent an email with the text Paul quotes above: “The offer for replacement discs of “Heroes” from the David Bowie box set “A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982)” has now come to an end…”. I feel extremely annoyed and dissapointed. This is the pretty average customer service.

Cliff

I’m pretty sure under UK law this isn’t legal.

They have admitted there was an error by replacing Heroes, so any boxes out there that still contain it have a disc which they know is faulty, therefore they are duty bound to replace the product.

Ex-Oligarch

Of course, the “cheaper option” — the customer spending more money to purchase a replacement, thereby increasing the profits of the company that knowingly sold the faulty product — is more cost effective. It’s the only economically feasible option for the individual consumer.

I can’t speak to UK law, but in the US this problem provides the rationale for consumer class action lawsuits. Unfortunately, that system works best for the lawyers bringing the action, and indeed for the company sued, since it permits the company to pay a small amount (including the plaintiffs’ lawyers fees) as settlement rather than remedy the problem for all consumers.

Thus, in this case, if a consumer class action suit were brought against EMI, the most likely result would be a settlement whereby the plaintiff’s lawyers were paid, and customers who could document their purchase from an authorized retailer at full price, fill out and mail a bunch of forms, might eventually in a few years receive a coupon for a dollar or two off their next purchase of an EMI product from specified retailers. The system sucks.

Auntie Sabrina

Your rights are against the retailer of the item.

https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

Kevin M

@SDE Paul
£17 for the vinyl in HMV / Fopp sell-off racks, if there’s some left. They’ve been recently selling off Low, Heroes, Lodger, Scary Monsters LPs, so if anyone just wants the main meat of the box set they could do so for £68 instead of £200, which is nice. Talking of the box, why is someone upthread saying it’s gone up in value due to the Heroes issue? Where’s the evidence for this? Nowhere that I’ve seen. It’s still widely available at RRP or less.

bungabungabunga

there’s an even cheaper option than that. call it a lesson learned, and just refuse to buy any of the subsequent box sets they put out.

Dean

No – they did not admit to an error. The buckled under pressure to reissue the disc in a format many users wanted, but that’s not the same as admitting to a fault. There is no fault, there is simply damage to the master tape. I think their decision was bizarre, but it’s not faulty.

faultytowers

do you know how compression works? the whole album is compressed more than the any other pressing & for those who can’t hear it that is evident from any wave form of any song on the album – so a loss in volume (energy) would result in the compressor kicking in and leveling the volume out again – that’s what compressors were made for and designed to do – which is how they “fixed it” on the newer edition. it’s a fault in the automated process they used where the compressor, for whatever reason, stopped working – hence the volume drop and a continued loss in perceived volume due to the compression not being present on the rest of the track.
if anything, the “faulty section” is the better part and the rest of the album is mistake.

kook

Seems fair – five months should be long enough for anyone. I’m quite happy with how it all turned out as I now have a boxset covering my favourite Bowie period, plus a spare copy of “Heroes” for the car. (I get some quizzical looks when sitting in traffic with the window down but there you go.)

The next box will be a tougher sell though: with the odd exception, Bowie’s output between 1983 and 1993 pretty much leaves me cold. What I’m really waiting for now is a DVD of ‘Lazarus’ – there were rumours going around a few months ago that this would be coming out in 2018 but no news as yet…

Michael G

Definitely not buying this,I hope they stay in a warehouse forever!

Ben Williams

All of the brand new box sets purchased legitimately as of the date they will stop replacing them should include the ‘fixed’ Heroes, surely? Otherwise, this stinks.

Martijn

No, it likely doesn’t. I think the box set was produced only once, so they all have the faulty disc. So yes, this stinks.

horslips

I doubt that this would pass muster from a consumer law perspective. While it is a small element in a much larger box, surely this goes to the essence of an anthology in that persons buying it are serious fans that expects the highest standards from the product.

So if you want a complete and perfect version of the discs in the box, you have to buy a separate product to complete it?

Sometimes you have to wonder about the music industry and how they regard their fans. Little wonder that so many download from the not-so-official websites. Not that I (or anybody here, I expect) would endorse that.

I got my replacement LP in good order, by the way.

Eric M.

Wow. That’s garbage.

They don’t even try to claim that they expect a copy of the box set you would buy today to include a corrected disc— just, ‘go buy an extra single copy with your own money’. I’m sure that’s well and good for them.

David

If they have admitted there is a problem with them then surely if you buy it they need to replace the LP or CD or they are going to be breaching Trading Standards legislation. I haven’t brought the box set yet but was planning to at some point. Now I wonder if I will bother.

Ben Williams

If you wanted it, I would certainly buy it now from Amazon and then if the Heroes LP had an issue then I’d just return it; Parlophone should just have this service running for those that fork out £200 on a box set, or simply send Amazon a bunch of fixed Heroes and send them out with all copies of ANCIANT

Dean

It’s ONE disc in a box set. A disc you can replace yourself for little cost. Why miss out on all the great music because of one track?

Auntie Sabrina

How dissapointing and it will serve Parlophne right if no-one buys the boxsets