There are artists so prolific that many of their recordings, both studio and live, end up being stored away. This material frequently remains in the vaults until the artist is either in need of some easy money or shakes hand with the grim reaper.
Luckily for Ben Folds neither has happened. His career is on an upswing. His turn as a judge on NBC's The Sing Off and the release of the comprehensive CD retrospective The Best Imitation of Myself offer Folds' fans more than enough of his music to keep them happy. However, like all prolific artists, Folds has more where that came from.
The deluxe edition of the retrospective contains an entire disc of unreleased tracks, demos, and live versions of familiar and unfamiliar Ben Folds tunes. Now, for those who crave even more Folds rarities, there is the Ben Folds Fifty-Five Vault — an online treasure trove of the artist’s material, the majority of which has never before been released.
When you visit the The Vault, you’ll find this explanatory introductory message: “The Ben Folds Fifty-Five Vault an exclusive and vast collection of carefully chosen, rare and collectible tracks culled and re-mastered from Sony's vaults and Ben's massive personal archive of demos and live performances.
“This incredible collection spans the entire professional recording career of Ben Folds to date, featuring over 30 previously unreleased tracks, early demos, alternate versions, rare b-sides, and live performances not found for purchase anywhere else!”
So what you get are 56 tracks in MP3 format, five of which are also available with the purchase of the deluxe version of the retrospective. The whole collection will cost you $29.99 or, if you’re picky, you can choose only the tracks you want for 99 cents each.
The songs range from rarities like the eight-minute “It’s All Right With God” from the Mitch Easter Sessions to the 1992 demo of Ben Folds Five’s “Underground.” For Ben Folds fans this is an excellent way of digging even deeper into the Folds archives, and for completists it's an absolute must.