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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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At a rough count approximately a third of the tracks contained herein could be called classics in the overlapping fields of popular and roots music. That's according to my tastes of course but I'd be surprised if anyone's count came below ten. Faced with that one's critical capabilities tend to get a bit befuddled. About the only negative comment is that a potential purchaser might have quite a few of these tracks already.

To summarise: within the two CD set are some of the best examples you'll find anywhere of fifties and early sixties electric blues from Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter, splendid vocal harmony (doo woppy stuff to you and me) from the Flamingos, the Monotones and the Moonglows, superb rock'n'roll from Dale Hawkins (the positively feral "Susie Q"), Chuck Berry and the unique Bo Diddley, plus early soul from the quite magnificent Etta James.

At a level slightly below that there's some mighty fine rockabilly from guys who don't get in all the compilations - the hiccupping Billy Barrix and Lou Josie are personal favourites, more blues and blues / rock hybrids like Jimmy McCracklin's "The Walk", Louisiana flavours from Clarence "Frogman" Henry and Clifton Chenier, more doo woppers, nuggets of rock'n'roll history in the shape of Bobby Charles' "See you later alligator" and Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" (with its claims to be the first rock'n'roll record) plus an isolated but excellent "My foolish heart" from sax man Gene Ammons. This last track is significant in that it was the first record to be released on Chess (on 78 RPM) in July, 1950.

AND, there's G.L. Crockett's marvellous, "Look out Mabel", which seems to straddle the boundaries of rockabilly and Chicago blues.

There are other compilations of Chess material around but I suspect One Day would have the edge on price (that's without any detailed cross checking). About the only criticism I can make of the set, and it's minor, is that there appears to be an element of front loading of the stronger tracks. But that's a quibble. A lot of this is stuff you just shouldn't be without. Has to be five stars.
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2013
Wow, wow, WOW! This is probably the most wonderful compilation I have ever had the pleasure to lay my ears on! For an insanely low price you too can be treated to classic, after classic. If you ever wanted to know and hear the songs that influenced just about every rock or pop group that rose to fame or dived to obscurity in the Sixties, and I include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin in that group, just listen to this fabulous collection.
The great thing is that the compilers haven't just gone for obvious hits- and let's face it for the price they could have and few would have complained. In fact there are a lot of gems that I've never heard sitting alongside MASSIVE classics like Johnny B Goode and Who Do You Love. And all re-mastered.

For less than a fiver? You're mad if you miss this.
Just to sum up... I rather like this CD set!
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on 16 February 2016

Chess Records was formed in 1950 by Polish brothers Leonard and Phil Chess in the city of the Blues: Chicago. In 1947, they bought shares in the local Aristocrat label. When Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf joined them, the brothers decided to buy the Aristocrat label outright and renamed it Chess Records. Besides Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, Chess became a magnet for black talent. The man behind the musical side of Chess was Willie Dixon. Other major artists included Etta James, Ike Turner, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. Chess’s most influential work was clearly achieved in the Fifties.


This 2 CD set, released in 2012, contains 50 songs. I have compiled a detailed song listing (together with chart positions on Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts, year and personal comments), which is as follows:

Disc 1:
01 I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters (R&B 3/1954)*rare gem; privotal figure in the development of Chicago blues; self-taught harmonica and guitar
02 Little City Woman – Big Bill Broonzy (uncharted single, 1953)
03 Bo Diddley – Bo Diddley (POP 6/1955; R&B 1(2)/1955)*rare gem;
04 Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry (POP 20/1956; R&B 3/1956)*rare gem
05 Cool Off Baby – Billy Barrix (uncharted single, 1957)
06 Got My Mojo Working – Muddy Waters (uncharted single, 1957)*rare gem
07 I’ll Be Home – The Flamingos (R&B 5/1956)*rare gem; their biggest hit: I Only Have Eyes For You (3/1959)
08 At Last – Etta James (POP 47/1961; R&B 2/1961)*definitive version of this classics; I prefer this version than Beyonce’s version.
09 Vacation’s Over – Lou Josie (uncharted single, 1958)
10 Smoke Stack Lightnin’ – Howlin’ Wolf (R&B 8/1956)*rare gem
11 Can’t Let You Go – Sugar Pie DeSanto (uncharted single, 1960)*rare gem; toured with Johnny Otis and later with James Brown
12 Book Of Love – The Monotones (POP 5/1958; R&B 3/1958)*rare gem; R&B vocal group from Newark, New Jersey; genuine One-Hit Wonder
13 Suzie Q – Dale Hawkins (POP 27/1957; R&B 7/1957)*rare gem; first cousin to Ronnie Hawkins; first white rocker to play the Apollo Theatre; later pop version by Creedence Clearwater Revival
14 The Walk – Jimmy McCracklin (POP 7/1958; R&B 5/1958)*rare gem
15 My Babe – Little Walter (POP 106/1960; R&B 1(5)/1955)*rare gem; has his own group Little Walter & His Jukes
16 Crazy Love – Dick Glasser (uncharted single, 1957)*not the same song as that by Paul Anka
17 The Big Wheel – Clifton Chenier (uncharted single, 1956)
18 Johnny B. Goode – Chuck Berry (POP 8/1958; R&B 2/1958)
19 I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James (uncharted single, 1961)*rare gem
20 Sugaree – Rusty York (POP 77/1959)*rare gem; Rock N Roll singer from Harlan, Kentucky
21 Darling I Know – The El-Tays (uncharted single, 1954)
22 Sugar Mama – John Lee Hooker (uncharted single, 1952)
23 Rocket 88 – Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (R&B 1(5)/1951)*rare gem; male singer/saxophonist with Ike Turner’s Kings Of Rhythm
24 Walking Alone – Memphis Slim (uncharted single, 1951)*had No. 1 hit with Messin’ Around in 1948
25 My Foolish Heart – Gene Ammons (R&B 9/1950)*rare gem; first 78 rpm single, with label # after the Chess family’s street number; saxophonist

Disc 2:
01 Who Do You Love? – Bo Diddley (uncharted single, 1956)
02 I Knew From The Start – The Moonglows (uncharted single, 1956)*their biggest hit: Sincerely (R&B 1/1954)
03 Later Alligator – Bobby Charles (POP 10/1956; R&B 14/1956)*rare gem; original version; later recorded by Billy Haley & His Comets as See You Later, Alligator
04 Look Out Mabel – G.L. Crockett (uncharted single, 1957)*has a charted hit in It’s A Man Down There in 1965
05 Flatfoot Sam – T.V. Slim (uncharted single, 1957)
06 (I Don’t Know Why) But I Do – Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry (POP 4/1961; R&B 9/1961)*rare gem
07 I Know – Jimmy McCracklin (uncharted single, 1958)*rare gem
08 Sweet Talk – Rusty York (uncharted single, 1959)*rare gem
09 Over The Mountain, Across The Sea – Johnny & Joe (POP 8/1957; R&B 3/1957)*rare gem; R&B duo from Bronx, New York; Johnnie Louise Richardson & Joe Rivers
10 You Can’t Catch Me – Chuck Berry (uncharted single, 1956)*rare gem
11 That’ll Be The Day – The Ravens (uncharted single, 1957)*rare gem; made popular by Buddy Holly
12 It Won’t Be Long – Sugar Pie DeSanto (uncharted single, 1960)*not the same song as that by the Beatles
13 True Love Come My Way – Larry Diamond (uncharted single, 1959)
14 Blues With A Feeling – Little Walter (R&B 2/1953)*rare gem; I’d preferred his biggest ht Juke (1(8)/1952)
15 A Kiss From Your Lips – The Flamingos (R&B 12/1956)*rare gem
16 Rockin’ The Pad – Memphis Slim (uncharted single, 1951)
17 Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees) – Eddie Fontaine (POP 64/1958)*rare gem
18 Seven Day Fool – Etta James (POP 95/1961)(b-side to It’s Too Soon To Know)
19 Roll Over Beethoven – Chuck Berry (POP 29/1956; R&B 2/1956)*Beatles sang this song from inspiration based on this original version
20 Breezin’ Out – Lou Josie (uncharted single, 1958)
21 Been So Long – Pastels (US 24/1958; R&B 4/1958)*rare gem
22 Come to Me Baby – Howlin’ Wolf (uncharted single, 1955)*I would have preferred his charted singles, like How Many More Years.
23 All Night Long – Johnny Fuller (uncharted single, 1958)
24 Nadine – The Coronets (uncharted single, 1953)
25 Nervous Boogie – Paul Gayten (POP 68/1957)*rare gem; backup singer for Clarence Henry & Bobby Charles

The sound is very well remastered, vibrant, clean with no hiss. The songs are all original versions.


One Day Music has released over 50 sets on various labels, and I am glad that I have purchased them all. There are quite a few rare gems in this collection. This set is more devoted to R&B music from the 50s. You get to hear the original versions by Chuck Berry and Etta James. This set is recommended. If your mojo isn’t working after listening to these 50 blues classics, better check your pulse!
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on 29 August 2013
Unbelievable CD's ! Fantastic tracks from some
Of the Worlds Best Blues players and Singers.
Think some of the tracks are classics and maybe
not available on other CD's ? Great Buy !!
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on 9 March 2016
Good mix of Rock and Roll Blues and good old Rockabilly. Bobby Charles version of See you later alligator has to be the best there is. Add Clarence Froggman Henry Bo Diddly and Chuck Berry into the pot for cracking tasty serving of Chess Records greats. Highly recommended. Don't hesitate buy today. Pointless wasting time searching for better.
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on 24 April 2013
As an introduction to so many very talented artists linked with the Chess record label, this is a very good place to start. Most listeners will be aware of some of the bigger names on this 2 disc compilation (Bo Diddley, Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Etta James etc) but there are so many other artists here who had completely slipped through my net!! Covering a period of ten years or so from early 50's to 1960, it provides a very good insight into the development of Blues, Rock and Roll and to a smaller extent Soul music during this time, all intertwined very nicely. Even if you are fully aware of this period and genre of music, who did what and who influenced others, this compilation is well worth having in your collection.
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on 14 February 2015
With the likes of Muddy Walters, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley who pretty much put the 'nuts and bolts' into blues and rock you can't go wrong with this selection. Also included are 50's rockers Johnny B. Goode, Suzie Q, Nothin' Shakin' and arguably one of the first ever rock and roll releases 'Rocket 88' from 1951 which included Ike Turner on guitar. The Etta James tracks plus a few rarer tracks from the Chess archives make set a must buy.
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This is an amazing compilation - so many seminal tracks from the classic eras of R&B and Rock and Roll. CD recordings are excellent, clear as a bell whilst retaining the original atmospheric sound.
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on 9 June 2013
A must have collection from the greatest blues label of all.
No filler - just top quality throughout - just sit back, listen and enjoy.
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on 15 March 2013
The CD covers some great old blues music and early R&B I really enjoyed it and suggest you buy it for a little piece of history
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