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The Chess Box [2 CD Box Set] Box set

31 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, November 28, 1988
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$20.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Chess Box [2 CD Box Set] + I Am the Blues + His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection
Price for all three: $30.97

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Fittingly enough for a set profiling the songwriter in Chicago blues, this not only features Willie performing some of his best-known tunes, but also has the performances by the artists-Bo Diddley ( Pretty Thing ); Muddy Waters ( Hoochie Coochie Man ) and Howlin' Wolf ( Spoonful )-that make them famous! 36 songs, 8 unavailable in the U.S., with booklet.

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Best known for his work as a songwriter, producer, and talent scout, singer-bassist Willie Dixon essentially built Chicago's Cobra and Chess labels with his sweat. Although this double-disc set does include five performances by the man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, himself, it's really a testament to his songwriting prowess, packed with recordings that made his tunes classics of blues and early rock & roll. There's Howlin' Wolf tearing through "Spoonful," "Little Red Rooster," "Evil," and "Back Door Man." There's Muddy Waters belting "You Shook Me," "Hoochie Coochie Man," and "I'm Ready." There's Bo Diddley delivering "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" and Koko Taylor launching her career with "Wang Dang Doodle." The set features excellent liner notes, and its only disappointment is that its label-centricity excludes Dixon's work for Cobra with then-youngsters Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. --Ted Drozdowski

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. My BabeLittle Walter 2:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Violent LoveLeonard Caston and The Big Three Trio and Willie Dixon 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Third DegreeEddie Boyd 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Seventh SonWillie Mabon 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Crazy For My BabyWillie Dixon 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. This Pain In My HeartWillie Dixon 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie ManMuddy Waters 2:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. Evil (Is Going On)Howlin' Wolf 2:54$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. Mellow Down EasyLittle Walter 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. When The Lights Go OutJimmy Witherspoon 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Young Fashioned WaysMuddy Waters 3:00$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. Pretty ThingBo Diddley 2:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. I'm ReadyMuddy Waters 3:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
14. Do Me RightLowell Fulson 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
15. I Just Want To Make Love To YouMuddy Waters 2:53$1.29  Buy MP3 
16. Tollin' BellsLowell Fulson 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
17. 29 WaysWillie Dixon 2:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Walking The BluesWillie Dixon 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. SpoonfulHowlin' Wolf 2:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. You Know My LoveOtis Rush 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. You Can't Judge A Book By It's CoverBo Diddley 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. I Ain't SuperstitiousHowlin' Wolf 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. You Need LoveMuddy Waters 2:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. Little Red RoosterHowlin' Wolf 2:26$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. Back Door ManHowlin' Wolf 2:50$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. Dead PresidentsLittle Walter 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Hidden CharmsHowlin' Wolf 2:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. You Shook MeMuddy Waters 2:41$1.29  Buy MP3 
11. Bring It On HomeSonny Boy Williamson 2:36$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. Three Hundred Pounds Of JoyHowlin' Wolf 3:06$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. Weak Brain, Narrow MindWillie Dixon 4:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Wang Dang DoodleKoko Taylor 3:02$1.29  Buy MP3 
15. The Same Thing (Live (1969/Super Cosmic Joy-Scout Jamboree))Muddy Waters 5:56$1.29  Buy MP3 
16. Built For ComfortHowlin' Wolf 2:40$1.29  Buy MP3 
17. I Can't Quit You BabyLittle Milton 6:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
18. Insane Asylum (Single Version) [feat. Willie Dixon]Koko Taylor and Willie Dixon 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 28, 1988)
  • Original Release Date: November 22, 1988
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Chess
  • ASIN: B000002P8I
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,920 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Anthony G Pizza VINE VOICE on April 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Willie Dixon gave the blues (and, by proxy, rock and roll) much of its identity and personality. As a songwriter, he created some of music's most indelible images: the Back Door Man, Little Red Rooster, Hootchie Coochie Man, and Seventh Son. He not only gave British and Southern rock and roll much of its early repetoire, but his songs became their monikers ("Spoonful," "Pretty Thing"). He played bass on many seminal Chess Records sides (for Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry), and himself recorded several first-class singles.
Chess celebrates Dixon's legacy on the 2-disc "Chess Box," and hearing these original versions is a revelation after exposure for years to their classic rock covers. Hear Waters' "You Need Love," and "You Shook Me," Little Milton's "I Can't Quit You Baby," or Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bring It On Home." Led Zeppelin covered these over their first two LPs, but could only amplify the raw power of Dixon's original words and melodies.
Dixon's prowess also shows through his influential bass work and the sides he did solo and with his group, The Big Three. Highlights here include "Crazy For My Baby," the humorous "Walkin' The Blues," and the acoustic "Weak Brain, Narrow Mind."
So, applying Willie Dixon's place in music history to freshman logic class goes like this: Dixon once named an album, "I Am the Blues." He also said in the liner notes, "As long as American music survives, so will the blues." Therefore, as long as American music survives, so will the songs of Willie Dixon. "The Chess Box" proves that to be no boast.Essential.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 1998
Format: Audio CD
Looking at the track listing for this album shows just what an impact Willie Dixon's songwriting had on Chicago Blues and popular music in general. The list of Chess artistes featured on this album speaks for itself. This is almost the "Best of Chess".
It's remarkable the number of songs on the album that were covered or "expanded on" by bands of the sixties and seventies: "I Just Want To Make Love To You" and "Little Red Rooster" - The Rolling Stones. "Spoonful" - Cream. "Back Door Man" - The Doors. "You Shook Me", "Bring It On Home", "I Can't Quit You Babe" and "You Need Love"(Whole Lotta Love) - Led Zeppelin. It's also worth noting that several songs we normally associated with Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf were in fact penned by Dixon.
"Third Degree" was covered by Eric Clapton in recent years. "Evil" is an excellent vehicle for Howlin' Wolf's voice. "Mellow Down Easy" has an unusual rhythm. "I Just Want To Make Love To You" is probably now better known for the Etta James version, rather than the Stones, thanks to TV. "I'm Ready" is one of my favourite Muddy Waters tracks. It's a perfect example of that unique Chess "sound". Little Walter's harp sound in the solo is unearthy.
Disc 2 features a series of classic Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters songs, with fine guitar from Hubert Sumlin on the Wolf tracks. There's a change of mood for the acoustic "Weak Brain, Narrow Mind", one of 5 tracks featuring lead vocals by Willie Dixon. He plays bass on many of the songs.
I would recommend this album to anyone you has enjoyed the covers of these songs, and is interested in hearing the originals. Or indeed to anyone who likes Dixon, Wolf, Muddy, or any of the artistes featured.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Brian Kerecz on March 21, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Willie Dixon does not get the spotlight or the notoriety of those such as Muddy Waters, nor the accolades of greats such as Howlin' Wolf, but one can certainly look at his body of work and see that without Willie Dixon, the Blues as we know it would not exist. What makes this set exceptional is the fact that Dixon's songs were covered by so many great bluesmen (and women) and because of this you have an excellent introduction to blues if you are not already well versed in the blues.

Dixon himself only has about 6 songs on this box set, and that is probably appropriate, as he was best known as a songwriter for the greats already mentioned, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, along with scores of other great bluesmen. A little known fact: He would often have to play one artist off of the other, saying that he wrote a song for X when in fact he wrote it for Z, using reverse psychology to get that artist to actually sing the song he wrote for them. I will not even go through my favorite songs on this set, as I would probably wind up listing all 36 songs (except perhaps Violent Love), though I will say the version of "I Can't Quit you Babe" found here is much more intense than the Otis Rush version done with Cobra records.

There is not a song on this box set which I skip over, and this is a testament to one of the all time greats in Blues. Few have heard of Willie Dixon; this is no way diminished his stature among the great names in Blues.

Highly recommended for anyone interested in the Blues, especially anyone just starting out in the blues genre, as this two-CD box set gives a great overview of Post-War Blues.
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