Mitch Hedberg – The Complete Vinyl Collection Box Set

Posted: June 6, 2017 in Vinyl
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With the popularity of vinyl you get some surprising releases. One such release is the Mitch Hedberg box set. His entire discography, even though it’s only three albums, is found in the box set, along with a “36 page” book and a USB drive containing both audio and video files that span his entire career.

Strategic Grill Locations, Mitch All Together and Do You Believe In Gosh are the three albums in the box set, which the title of is The Complete Vinyl Collection. They all feature alternate artwork than their respective original CD releases. Strategic Grill Locations is the only album in the box to be a double LP, and the only one to come in a gatefold jacket as well. The jackets for each record is very thick, probably the thickest in my collection and that I have ever seen. All the albums are on standard weight black vinyl, and none come with an insert. Which is not surprising because these are comedy albums, so what exactly would they put on an insert? Transcripts of the set?

The box itself is a slip case, which is made well. It’s sturdy and fits the records and book perfectly. There is little room for the records to jostle around, which is good because otherwise there is a risk of damaging the jackets. But after seeing the superior quality of the jackets, I think they could be put in the dryer and come out with no seam splits. I think the printing of the jackets is done reverse board style, but I’m not 100% sure. There is a long, vertical hype sticker on the front of the box, which almost stretches from top to bottom. And the spines of each jacket match, which brings a clean look to the box set as they face outward.

The book is on the large size, 13”x13”, but it’s not actually 36 pages. Unless of course you count the front and back covers, which are not actually pages. There are only 34 pages of actual content. It features full color photos, writings from Lynn Shawcroft, Mitch’s widow, and “essays” from fellow comics Mike Birbiglia, Margaret Cho and Doug Stanhope. I say “essays” because they’re literally a couple paragraphs long. This blog post is longer than those “essays.” Both the front and back covers are designed to look like one of Mitch’s notebooks, with the front being the front and the back being the back of the notebook.

The USB drive, meant to replicate a credit card, can be found inside one of the jacket pockets of Strategic Grill Locations. Apparently some people had some trouble finding it. How I don’t know. Maybe they expected it to be loose inside the box. It wouldn’t surprise me if these people don’t actually play their records. But had they actually explored the contents of the box completely the USB drive would’ve been easily found. I had more trouble figuring out how to open the drive. It looks like it might slide or pull out from the plastic, but it folds open. It’s an odd and flimsy design, and I strongly advise having something underneath it to support it when you go to plug it into your computer. Otherwise it might actually break off.

Along with MP3 files of the three albums in the box set, the USB drive features MP3 files of an additional performance, Opening For The Neville Brothers. This Neville Brothers set is actually two performances from 1995, an early and late show. It’s not broken down into separate tracks, just one long audio file for each set. Two video files are also included on the drive, Premium Blend from 1998 and Mitch’s 1999 Comedy Central Special. There are lots of complaints about the playback quality of the videos, ranging from lag, random artifacts during playback and that they never worked at all. One person chimed in saying he copied the video files to his desktop and they played fine. Other people tried that method, with one saying it worked while another said it didn’t solve the problem.

I tried both methods, playing them directly off the USB drive and copying them to my hard drive. First off, both videos do in fact work, not matter where you play them from. The first video, Premium Blend, has artifacts in the form of green bars and blobs, which only happens at the beginning of the video. That is the only place they appear. This happens whether you play them directly off the USB or off your hard drive. The second video, the Comedy Central Special, has no problems, no matter where you play the file from. Both videos are a bit grainy though, but it’s not out of the ordinary as these aren’t in HD. They weren’t filmed in HD and they were upscaled for this box set either. I suggest using VLC Player for playing videos, as it’s able to not only play a wide range of video file types (MP4, MPEG, etc.) but other files such as audio files as well.

The box set is advertised as “limited edition,” but the exact number of copies pressed has never been officially released. Discogs has a number, which I won’t post here because everything on there is not only user submitted, but edited as well. So any info found on there may not be accurate. Like I said, an official number has never been made public. I only post pressing info when I can substantiate it, as in from an official source like the label or band/artist.

Retail price when this box set first came out in November 2016 was $100. As time went on the price has dropped, but not by much. Amazon, the apparent official retailer of the box set based on the press release Comedy Central Records sent out, is now selling copies for $90, which is pretty much the cheapest you’ll find this. Most places selling this are between $90-100. I was able to nab this for $73 shipped after taking advantage of a $15 off coupon on ebay.

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