3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2012
I bought this CD as a back up to my VeeJay vinyl and I am generally happy with the choice of recordings. Great to see the inclusion of Priscilla Bowman and her excellent up tempo blues recording of 'keep your hand off my baby' although there could have been a couple of more female blues artists included .Jimmy Reed,John Lee Hooker,Roscoe Gordon ,Billy Boy Arnold (why not his 'I wish you would?')are all represented here and with the knowledge that it is difficult to satisfy every taste I find this VeeJay compilation to be a good buy. Vee Jay was an excellent Chicago based company and issued many fantastic blues recordings during 1950's.During 1960's they issued some fine soul recordings but personally I shall never understand why they suddenly started to issue the Beatles early recordings in the States.Many will say,'money'but the fact is VeeJay went into administration soon after!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Vee Jay Records was set up by Vivian Carter and James Bracken (later Mr and Mrs Bracken) in Gary, Indiana, in 1953. Subsequently they moved to Chicago and, for a period, were actually on the same street as Chess. Although the label is often referred to as a blues label, in reality their genre coverage was almost as wide as that of Chess. In the early to mid sixties, prior to the collapse in '66, the label was very strongly associated with soul music. They also distributed Beatles records in the US.
Back to the blues: the first of the two "big names" to record for the label was Jimmy Reed, an artist who was resident in Chicago but whose lazy slurry sounding delivery seemed to owe more to his birth in Mississippi. His style was certainly an inspiration for several of the swamp blues artists who recorded for Excello down in Crowley, Louisiana. The other major blues artist was John Lee Hooker who did put down a significant body of work for Vee Jay in his ten years or so at the label.
Slightly further down the pecking order in terms of blues artists at Vee Jay was Billy Boy Arnold. Billy Boy along with Reed and Hooker were all major influences on Brit blues bands in a '63 / '64 timeframe. Other blues artists appearing in this set, to good effect, were Memphis Slim (a major label hopper), Floyd Jones, Billy "The Kid" Emerson and the great Elmore James who had three singles out on Vee Jay.
There's oodles of doo woppy stuff, R&B and some fascinating proto soul in this set. Highlights and / or points of interest for me were:
* The Staple Singers "Uncloudy Day" from 1956 with those voices set against Pop Staples heavy guitar reverb - a most unusual sound at the time.
* The two excellent early soul tracks from Jerry Butler, particularly the classic, "For your precious love" - both tracks are excellent examples of vocal harmony mutating into soul.
* Sticking with soul music, the breakthrough single from Gladys Knight and the Pips, "Every beat of my heart" which was released at roughly the same time on two different labels!
* The R&B standard "Just a little bit" written and originally recorded by Rosco Gordon (another inveterate label hopper) on Vee Jay.
* The always popular "Duke of Earl" from Gene Chandler, another gent who morphed into a soulster over time.
* Bobby Parker, the man who made the soul blues classic "Watch your step" also wrote and recorded "You got what it takes" for Vee Jay in 1958. The song was later covered by Marv Johnson (with a lighter touch) and he had a hit with it. There are touches of that stinging Parker guitar on his version.
Overall, I feel that Vee Jay emerges strongly from this compilation. Comparison with One Day's equivalent set for Chess suggests that Vee Jay weren't that far behind "big brother".
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2012
This CD set is a great bargain. It is part of a series of Rock n Roll and Rockabilly Cds released by this label.
Amazed at how its remastering allows older artists to still be heard with such clarity. For the price of a pint, this is an absolute top album to own and an excellent way to build up your collection.
on 10 August 2014
Vee-Jay out of sweet home Chicago!!!! Besides the blues, there were commercial successes featured here: Gene Chandler's "Duke of Earl" (No. 1 in 1962), Jerry Butler tunes, the Dells' "Oh What A Night"..etc.
Dee Clark's "Raindrops" is not the song I grew up listening to; the one I know begins with a heavy rain storm.
Highly recommended tracks include the Staple Singers' "Uncloudy Day" (I bet you'll get goosebumps!) and the Hi-Liters' "Bobby Sox Baby" for some pure '50s R&B experience. Rosco Gordon is good too with "Just A Little Bit" and "No More Doggin" and the original "You've Got What It Takes" by Bobby Parker, later re-recorded by Marv Johnson for Motown.
Some great early Soul tracks include "Here I Stand" by Wade Flemmons & The Newcomers and "You Can Make It If You Try" by Gene Allison; very recommended both.
All in all, pretty decent compilation for collectors.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2012
cant believe i am hearing these artists and recordings for the first time,recorded in the late fifties and early sixties.where have i been,these are absolutely fantastic sounds.i want more.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2012
A treat from start to finish for lovers of music on the cusp of r'n'b and rock'n'roll.By turns bluesy, soulful and rockin' this is music to get you moving,grooving and shaking all over, although not necessarily in that order. A snip at the price too.I really did quite like this. A lot.