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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine set of the most popular Chess output, 24 Nov 2005
By 
Mr. R. B. Ager "Ronald Ager" (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records (Audio CD)
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the time when brothers Leonard and Phil Chess formed their legendary record label. This overdue collection (mainly down to legal disputes over UK rights) is a broad overview of the output from the studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue from 1951 until the early 1970s when, following Leonard's death in 1969 the label was wound down and the catalogue sold on. During that time they produced a diverse range of music - early rock and roll, blues, doo-wop, R & B, soul and a little jazz - many of the tracks became landmarks in the history of popular music and made household names of the likes of Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Etta James.
It contains tracks which will be familiar to many, either because they're that old themselves or because they've been heard recently as covered by today's artists - Laura Lee's "Dirty Man" was given a creditable workout by Joss Stone, and Marlena Shaw's "Woman of the Ghetto" was reworked as "Remember Me" by Blueboy, to name just two.
Although only six tracks here charted in the UK, exactly half of them did so in the States and these crop up fairly regularly on radio, especially the specialist stations. There are a few novelty nuggets as well - Jacke Brenston & His Delta Cats "Rocket 88", a raw, rough and ready, early example of rock and roll, Billy Stewart's idiosynchratic version of Gershwin's "Summertime", and, to bring back fond memories of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, there's the rare appearance of Pigmeat Markham's wonderful version of "Here Comes The Judge", which almost makes the collection worthwhile on its own.
This is a fine history of the revered Chess label's output, aimed at the non-enthusiast, and it works very well on that level. A few of the tracks may have been over-exposed in blues & soul collections, and there's not much that is really rare or eclectic, but there is such a variety of styles and persona as to make for over 2 hours of stimulating listening.
The set comes in digipak form, with leaflet notes, introduced by Marshall Chess, which give a brief history but are ultimately frustratingly short on detail - I suppose they would need a pretty huge book to do the job properly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Classic, 18 Nov 2010
This review is from: Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records (Audio CD)
If you are new to Chess Records or are interested in early blues recordings that influenced the Rolling Stones this is a great starting point. Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, plus some fantastic soul records - who can beat the vocals of Etta James. Buy this box set - every tune is a classic, I hope this switches people on to the sounds of Chess Records.

PEACE x
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The name of the game, 18 Nov 2006
This review is from: Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records (Audio CD)
It wasn't until the Stones era that Chess began to mean more than just the name on a London American single of Chuck Berry.Even Bo Diddley had only had a couple of singles issued in 1959 and Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters had had just one EP apiece around 1958.

Chuck Berry had charted below the top 10 with a couple of songs one of which School day had been more succesful in a cover version by an ex jazzman!

By the time the Beatles covered Rock'n'Roll Music and Roll over Beethoven the floodgates opened.

The Beatles would see Berry as a rock'n'roller the Stones would see him as a blues artist and both would cover many Berry songs each different ones to the other.beginning with the first Stones single a cover of what was really his current single Come On.By the end of the 60s British groups had plundered the entire Berry songbook!

Along with Berry they added Muddy Waters,Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley while other English bands covered John Lee Hooker,Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James.And Pye Records who then had the license began to issue a series of albums both as full price and budget,making Chess available for everybody.

The Stones actually recorded their EP Five By Five and a few of the following singles like Satisfaction at the Chess Studios and ended up being managed by the son of the owner Marshall Chess.

Plus getting Howlin' Wolf on a prime time U S TV show and later recording with him in London for their own Rolling Stone label.(Earlier the Yardbirds had made an album with Sonny Boy Williamson)

Smokestack Lightning was one of many songs made by the new English bands such as Manfred Mann and the Stones themselves covered Howlin' Wolf's version of Little Red Rooster taking it to No 1.

Meanwhile Chess was moving into Uptown Soul -Etta James,the Radiants,Fontella Bass,Jackie Ross,Mitty Collier,Billy Stewart and Tony Clarke .And the greatest single of all to my mind-Jan Bradley's Mama didn't lie-written by Curtis Mayfield and on the way to a life of its own.

Periodically Chess would return to its more authentic blues roots with Tommy Tucker and Koko Taylor or its jazz catalog where the Ramsey Lewis Trio made Johnny Rivers type instrumentals of current hits and charted with them.But by the end of the decade psychedelic influences were creeping in via the Rotary Connection which was a collective of musicians and singers who included a young Minnie Ripperton-previously with a Chess girl group called the Gems.

However it came to an end shortly after so this 48 track sampler is really the Golden Age which had begun with recordings made by Sam Philips in Memphis
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chess Records., 15 Nov 2011
This review is from: Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records (Audio CD)
A great CD of original and classic blues and rock from the CHESS ARTISTS. No modern day electronic computer generated sounds to cover up the fact that the artist cannot sing or hold a tune. This CD is about pure raw talent. My favourites are ETTA JAMES and HOWLING WOLF (the latter was, I believe, also a favourite of John Lennon) but you choose from the list of great artists. If you like what you hear, then you could do worse than consider buying CDs by other artists featured on this and similar albums from this period.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this is the chess set to get essential stuff!!, 4 Sep 2008
By 
Mr. S. L. Smith "musicman" (england carlisle cumbria) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records (Audio CD)
bo diddley,chuck berry,muddy waters,elmore james,etta james,minnie riperton,etc all amazeing i bought this when it came out in 2005 its fantastic box set i play it quite often if you fancy abit of blues at its best get this aswell as some good 60s gems here too love ramsey lewis wade in the water also marlena shaws version too shes a good artist too shame they never put lorraine ellison on here stay with me baby what a song and what a voice shes upthere with aretha franklin,mahalia jackson,roberta flack,jocelyn brown,marlena shaw,etc buy this its fantastic youll find youreself playing it so much it irrates you to the point you will stop listening then go back to it its like that with everything eg amy winehouse back to black album cant stop playing gotta stop playing it then go back to it lol!! back to black is a very good modern album essential love her forget the press talent that counts!! buy this you wont regret it!! happy listening email me for chat about music if you wish or if you have any reccomendationd for me its stephenmusicman2008@yahoo.co.uk
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Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records
Chess Pieces: The Very Best Of Chess Records by Various Artists (Audio CD - 2005)
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