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The Music City Story (3cd) Box set

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Jan. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Ace Records
  • ASIN: B004FEDV7G
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,530 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. W-P-L-J - The 4 Deuces
  2. YOUR MONEY AIN'T LONG ENOUGH - Del Graham with Que Martyn's Orchestra
  3. KEEP ME SATISFIED, BABY - Golden Boy with Chick Morris & His Band
  4. A PRAYER - Al Joseph Harris with Chick Morris & His Band
  5. GUITAR BLUES - Sidney Grande
  6. ON MY WAY - Alvin Smith
  7. HERE LIES MY LOVE - Mr Undertaker
  8. ANNIE PULLED A HUM-BUG - The Midnights
  9. LATE LAST NIGHT - The Twilighters
  10. ICHI BON TAMI-DACHI - The Rovers
  11. JOHNNY'S STOMP (EARLY VERSION) - Johnny Heartsman
  12. TELL ME, DARLING - The Gaylarks
  13. I'M A WORKIN' MAN - The Five Lyrics
  14. MORRINE - The Five Campbells
  15. I DON'T STAND NO QUITTIN' - Gloria Jean
  16. CROSSING THE RIVER - The Dreamers
  17. THIS WICKED RACE - The Golden West Singers
  18. JERRY - The Three Dons & Donna
  19. LIL TIPA-TINA - The Five Swans
  20. THE WHEEL - Jimmy Nelson
  21. WRONG DOING WOMAN - Jasper Evans
  22. DING DONG - The Gayteens
  23. FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART - Leon Pryor
  24. BURY ME IN THE SOUTH - Al Bennett with The Country Travellers
  25. THE WALLFLOWER - Unknown male-female duet
  26. BIG SIX RADIO AD

Disc: 2

  1. JOHNNY'S HOUSE PARTY (PARTS 1 & 2) - Johnny Heartsman with The Rhythm Rockers & The Gaylarks
  2. ROCKIN' SATELLITE - The 3 Honeydrops
  3. JUST ONE MORE CHANCE - Lord Luther
  4. LOVE ME TENDER - The Fidels
  5. GONNA BLOW OUT THE LAMP - Gene Lee & The Blues Rockers
  6. ARE YOU MY BOYFRIEND - Wally & Theresa
  7. INDIAN JANE - The Marcels
  8. I NEED YOU BABY - Robbie Meldano
  9. FLIPPIN' & A-FLOPPIN' - Pee Wee & Sugar Pie
  10. STATION L-O-V-E - The Holidays
  11. BLUES ALL AROUND MY BED - Jimmy Raney
  12. ELAINE - The Klixs
  13. MUSIC CITY HOP - Johnny George
  14. HEAVEN'S OWN CHOIR - The Five Crystals
  15. DYNAMITE - Kary Lynn
  16. LOVER'S PLEA - The Pagans
  17. THE SLOPP - Willie Moore
  18. BEVERLY MY DARLING - Joe Blackwell & The Individuals
  19. PARTY AT VERN'S - The Satellite Band
  20. MY HEART'S DESIRE - The Crescendos
  21. YOU GAVE ME LOVE - Lee Durrell & The Tamaras
  22. I WALK IN CIRCLES - Little Lynn
  23. CHURCH ON THE HILL - Bob & Jessie
  24. LOVE YOU ALL NIGHT LONG - Little Willie Littlefield
  25. MIRAGE - The Nightcaps
  26. MAGNIFICENT MONTAGUE RADIO SPOT

Disc: 3

  1. SCHEMING - Wanda Burt & The Crescendos
  2. ALL AROUND THE WORLD - Vermettya Royster with James Brown's Band
  3. OCEAN OF LOVE - The Franciscans
  4. THE KASAVUBU WALTZ - D'Vonya White
  5. NATURE BOY - The Four Rivers
  6. LONELY ONE - The Derbys
  7. DON'T FENCE ME IN - Jackie Day
  8. I FEEL SO BLUE - The Italics
  9. I'M WAITING - The Fantastics
  10. WHAT TO DO - The Swingin' Brothers
  11. YOU ARE MY LOVER GIRL - The Powell Brothers
  12. I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE - Johnnie Marie Thorne
  13. SOMETHING IN MY EYE - The Music City Soul Brothers
  14. PASSING THRU MUSIC CITY - Music City Swingers
  15. DO THE PHILLY - The Music City All Stars
  16. TOO LATE TO CRY - Lou Rawls
  17. FEELING FINE, FEELING GOOD - Wanda Burt
  18. SHE'S COMING BACK - The Soul Brothers
  19. HE'S ALL RIGHT - The Heavenly Tones
  20. STOP TELLING ME - The Two Things In One
  21. A MAN THAT IS NOT FREE - The Soul Sensations
  22. DIDN'T I - Darondo
  23. LOVING YOU ISN'T ENOUGH - The Ballads
  24. WHEN WE GET MARRIED (PART 2) - Tear Drop Tears
  25. FAREWELL GOODBYE MY LOVE - The Performers
  26. KYA NEWSBEAT SPOT

Product Description

* One of the holy grails of 1950s American popular music has been rescued, dusted down and polished, for fans of blues both raunchy and smooth, street corner harmony, and bittersweet soul. The legendary Music City Records of Berkeley, California was one of the longest-lived, most fiercely independent black-owned record companies of the era.

* Over the course of two decades, owner Ray Dobard's release schedule reflected the evolution of black popular music, from smooth blues in the early 1950s, through R&B, instrumentals, rock'n'roll through to the end of the decade, proto-soul in the early 60s and into funk and modern soul in the 1970s. But it is the rich seam of Bay Area vocal groups that Music City mined, that collectors associate with the label. Dobard had only a couple of minor hits - the Four Deuces' popular `W-P-L-J', Johnny Heartsman's raucous `Johnny's House Party' - but released over fifty 45 rpm singles and taped much, much more.

* "The Music City Story" is an unprecedented survey of the label's riches, the tapes to which have miraculously survived to provide an intimate portrait of this unique operation. The 3-disc set acts as an excellent primer for Ace's forthcoming genre-and artist-based compilations of Music City material, telling the story with both many rare gems from the catalogue, and a surfeit of previously unissued goodies.

* Amongst the set's 78 tracks are names familiar to doo wop and blues collectors - the Crescendos, Gaylarks, Rovers, 5 Lyrics, Alvin Smith etc - while behind several others lurk famous names (James Brown, Lou Rawls) or others soon to be famous (Sugar Pie Desanto, members of Sly & The Family Stone). While Music City recorded many genres, from jazz to surf, the emphasis in "The Music City Story" is upon the black vocal group, be it 50s, 60s or 70s vintage.

* Packaged in a slipcase, with a separate 48-page colour booklet (similar to our Theme Time Radio Hour packages). The jam-packed booklet tells the little-known story of this iconic label, with newly discovered detailed information and an array of vintage photos and memorabilia.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jun. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Released January 2011 in the UK, "The Music City Story" on Ace Records ABOXCD 11 is a 3CD mini box set and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 - "I'm A Working Man - Early To Mid 1950s", 26 Tracks in Mono. The CD itself is a yellow 'Delcro' label, beneath is a repro of the 45 B-side "Keep Me Satisfied, Baby" by CHUCK MORRIS and his BAND on Delcro 102 (66:35 minutes).
Tracks 5, 8 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 21 to 26 are Previously Unreleased.

Disc 2 - "Scheming - Mid 1950's to Early 1960s", 26 Tracks in Mono. The CD itself is a brown 'Music City' label, beneath is a repro of a Music City Acetate of "I Walk In Circles" by LITTLE LYNN (66:29 minutes).
Tracks 8, 10, 17 and 23 to 26 are Previously Unreleased.

Disc 3 - "Just One More Chance - Early 1960s to Mid 1970s", 26 Tracks in Stereo. The CD itself is a coloured musical notes version of the 'Music City' label, beneath is a repro of the 45 "Didn't I" by DORANDO on Music City MC 894 (70:22 minutes).
Tracks 2 to 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 25 and 26 are Previously Unreleased.

This lavishly packaged set chronicles Ray and Jeanne Dobard's "Music City" Record Label out of Berkeley in California - 78 tracks from 1950 through to 1975. The last track on each disc is a short 'Radio Ad' and of the remaining 75 actual songs, a whopping 31 are Previously Unreleased. The first 2 CDs feature mostly Fifties Rhythm `n' Blues and Doo Wop cuts - while half way through Disc 3 it moves into Sixties and Seventies Soul of sorts. The set was compiled and researched by ALEC PALAO with the audio restoration and mastering done by ROB SHREAD and NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering in London. It's beautifully done and the exceptional packaging (high even by Ace's standards) is worth elaborating on...
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Format: Audio CD
An object lesson in how to research a project-everything you could possibly want to know about a label few have heard of and little to show for over 20 years of recording.No more than a couple of minor hits,a few artists who would achieve greater fame on other labels (Sugar Pie de Santo,Lou Rawls,Roy Hawkins)
There must be some sort of moral there-bigger labels have gone bankrupt within the time span like Swan or Vee Jay
The odd item turned up in the U K like a female singer called Jackie Day now the subject of her own CD.Which greatly annoyed me as Jan Bradley has been totally ignored escept for a few recordings picked up by Ace yet here is the only One Hit Wonder never on her own CD and she left the business in 1969 leaving behind over 20 recordings.Jackie Day had a single issued on the Sue label
Anyway back to this set which has the usual detailed sleeve note by Alex Paola who often does folk rock and psychedelic stuff this is where you get over 70 unknown recordings laid on you the best of which are the earliest ones-I can take or leave soul after about 1966.
What I like about the music being produced in the 60s is there was so much mass copying of other peoples' hits which to me is a plus factor.And probably the best here is "I walk in circles" by Little Lynn & the 4 Rivers-ascloseasthis to Rosie & the Originals' Angel Baby
Ray Dobard himself looks as if he should have been a star a cross between Jackie Wilson and Gary U S Bonds
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
great...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c2f6f78) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c25e2c4) out of 5 stars "...Didn't I Do The Best I Could..." 12 Jun. 2011
By Mark Barry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Released January 2011 in the UK, "The Music City Story" on Ace Records ABOXCD 11 is a 3CD mini box set and breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 - "I'm A Working Man - Early To Mid 1950s", 26 Tracks in Mono. The CD itself is a yellow 'Delcro' label, beneath is a repro of the 45 B-side "Keep Me Satisfied, Baby" by CHUCK MORRIS and his BAND on Delcro 102 (66:35 minutes).
Tracks 5, 8 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 21 to 26 are Previously Unreleased.

Disc 2 - "Scheming - Mid 1950's to Early 1960s", 26 Tracks in Mono. The CD itself is a brown 'Music City' label, beneath is a repro of a Music City Acetate of "I Walk In Circles" by LITTLE LYNN (66:29 minutes).
Tracks 8, 10, 17 and 23 to 26 are Previously Unreleased.

Disc 3 - "Just One More Chance - Early 1960s to Mid 1970s", 26 Tracks in Stereo. The CD itself is a coloured musical notes version of the 'Music City' label, beneath is a repro of the 45 "Didn't I" by DORANDO on Music City MC 894 (70:22 minutes).
Tracks 2 to 9, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 25 and 26 are Previously Unreleased.

This lavishly packaged set chronicles Ray and Jeanne Dobard's "Music City" Record Label out of Berkeley in California - 78 tracks from 1950 through to 1975. The last track on each disc is a short 'Radio Ad' and of the remaining 75 actual songs, a whopping 31 are Previously Unreleased. The first 2 CDs feature mostly Fifties Rhythm 'n' Blues and Doo Wop cuts - while half way through Disc 3 it moves into Sixties and Seventies Soul of sorts. The set was compiled and researched by ALEC PALAO with the audio restoration and mastering done by ROB SHREAD and NICK ROBBINS at Sound Mastering in London. It's beautifully done and the exceptional packaging (high even by Ace's standards) is worth elaborating on...

A colour card-wrap houses a 3-way gatefold foldout digipak. As detailed above, each CD is themed with different period labels with another 45 pictured beneath the see-through clear plastic tray (both visually nice touches) - while the 48-page booklet (sits alongside the digipak) has a 16,000-word essay by ALEX PALAO - which features a full Discography on the last few pages. The over-sized booklet is gorgeous to look at and a properly informative read - trade adverts, archive photos of the family who ran it, rare 45s and acetates, publicity shots, artist contracts, even master cards and tape boxes for the recording sessions.

Disc 1 opens strongly with a jaunty R'n'B tune called "W-P-L-J" by THE 4 DEUCES (short for a cocktail drink featuring White Port and Lemon Juice) - very similar to The Penguins. Track 3 is a gem too - Golden Boy takes Lead Vocals on "Keep Me Satisfied, Baby" which is a very Roy Milton piano-driven R'n'B groove - and the sound quality is stupendous. The Doo Wop starts proper with the lovely "Tell Me, Darling" by THE GAYLARKS from 1955 - while the incredible rare religious vocal workout that is "This Wicked Race" by THE GOLDEN WEST SINGERS is so well produced - and collectors will love both. Jimmy Nelson's "The Wheel" brings it back to dancing R'n'B.

Previously Unreleased - James Brown collectors will dig "All Around The World" (Track 2 on Disc 3) which features JB's backing band and is a "Grits & Groceries" belter. Equally nice is the torch ballad "I Can't Take Any More" by Johnnie Marie Throne (Track 12 on Disc 3) and the Lou Rawls ballad "Too Late To Cry" is a worthy inclusion.

The instrumental B-side "Passing Thru Music City" sounds like crudely recorded Booker T & The Mg's but it's a clever choice because it's cool, while a huge draw for Soul lovers will be Dorando's gorgeous ballad "Didn't I" issued on 45 in October 1973 (lyrics above). A rare single which sold about 6000 copies locally, William Pulliam sounded like Al Green on a Soul-Folk tip - it's possibly worth the price of admission alone (and it's in top quality sound too).

Downsides - since its release in early 2011, this mini box set has received precious little interest from the public - unusual for a project Ace has put so much time into. Unfortunately, on hearing the actual material itself (especially on Discs 1 and 2), I can understand why. I have to admit that I found a lot of the songs plodding and ordinary and there's too little decent Soul on Disc 3 either (hence the 3 stars).

To sum up - while this is beautifully presented, I just wish the actual listen lived up to how great it looks. A lot of the time I struggled with too much of it and I would advise hearing it first if you can.

Still, for collectors of rare Doo Wop, Fifties Blues, R'n'B and obscure Soul 45's - "The Music City Story" may prove too difficult to resist...
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c352030) out of 5 stars Thoroughly Disappointed 9 Mar. 2011
By Mikey Doo Wops - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When seeing on Ace Records' web-site a few months ago that this collection was being released I was excited because I own a 2 LP vocal group collection from Music City that's pretty good. I figure that since almost none of the songs on those LP's is on this set it must be very good, because if they didn't include most of those songs what they put it in it's place must be good, RIGHT?. Upon receiving these CD's and listening a few times I have to say this set is "a complete dog!" There are only a few decent songs on it and most are complete disasters. I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of classic R&B and Blues, I know what to look for when it comes to pretty obscure recordings (which these most certainly are), and whether or not they had hit potential or any artistic merit and should be preserved. Almost none these songs have that. The singers for the most part can't sing at all, the band (Johnny Heartsman's on just about all of them) is not very good. When it comes to R&B in the 50s you'd didn't have to have a pretty voice to make a good or interesting record, all you needed is to carry a tune, have nice tone, have real feeling and good material (either a pretty ballad or a witty dance/novelty tune) almost none these singers or groups could have said that. Some the 60s and 70s Soul tunes are O.K. but something is seriously wrong on most of them, either the music and arrangement is bad and the singing good, or the other way around. The packaging is the only thing going for this set. The CD's themselves are beautiful and the liner notes are extensive and the pictures are great. However, since the music is pretty bad and uninteresting the packaging gets canceled out. The packaging gives this rating the one star. I'm not going to go through and list any of the OK songs, if you take a chance and buy this you be the judge. I read somewhere that Ray Dobard, the owner and founder of the Music City record store and Labels, was comparable to John Dolphin of Dolphin's of Hollywood fame, well judging from these CD's, he doesn't compare. If you want to hear some really good 50s R&B and Blues from California by a store front label, I strongly urge you to check out any releases from the Recorded in Hollywood/Cash/Money masters. I recommend the Doo Wop from Dolphins Hollywood set and The Soul of Money set. Ace Records really never misses with their releases but this is definitely a miss.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c1528f4) out of 5 stars Music City Story 5 Jan. 2012
By Joe Pinkey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have recently received the three disc set of Music City Story, of music that was created in Berkley, CA in the 50's through the 70's.
I must say that most of the tracks are decent music to listen and or dance to, but after reading the 48 page liner notes, I understand why some of the acoustics are not the greatest in the world ! There are some of the artists on the tracks that to me "covered" some good blues music by more well known blues artists; Etta James, Big Joe Turner, Bill Dogget, and others; by that I mean their song/instrumental sounds just like the original but just a little different.
There are several tracks that are indicated as "un-released" and in my opinion, it's a good thing that they were not as I don't think they would have made any DJ play it twice! But the rest of the tracks are good Doo Wop, rock 'n roll, and blues all re-mastered to sound the best that they can.
If you're a collecter if this type of music from this era, I'd recommend you "listen" to some of them as Amazon recommends before buying.
HASH(0x9c344fc0) out of 5 stars Music City Story 3-CD box set 26 April 2015
By The Durango Kids - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The presentation of Music City Story from ACE records is outstanding. Most of the music is for Doo-Wop and 50's rock fans. Read the EDITORIAL REVIEW on the Amazon listing. Gives a more detail about the music. Packaging from ACE is super. Very happy with this purchase. I highly recommend this to any fans of the 50's music.
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