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Vee-Jay: Definitive Collection Box set

8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, August 21, 2007
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$39.97 $25.46

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Vee-Jay: The Definitive Collection is the flagship release in a new series of reissues drawn from the incredibly rich R&B, blues, soul, gospel, jazz and pop recordings originally released by Vee-Jay Records.

For a label that lasted only 13 years and closed in 1966, Vee-Jay Records left a large legacy, though one that is largely underrecognized. This four-disc retrospective provides a corrective, documenting the range and richness of the catalog from the Chicago rival to Chess Records. Many know Vee-Jay as the first American label to license the Beatles (not included here) and to introduce the Four Seasons ("Sherry" is). But the depth of this set lies in the signature classics by artists including bluesmen John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Reed, gospel greats the Staple Singers and Swan Silvertones, doo-wop groups such as the Spaniels and Sonny Til's Orioles, and soul singers Jerry Butler and Gene Chandler. The well-known artistry merely scratches the surface of the sets' delights, as those familiar with such hits as Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" and Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" will finds revelation in the Vee-Jay originals (by Betty Everett and Gloria Jones, respectively). An auspicious launch to what promises to be an ambitious reissue program. --Don McLeese

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Disc: 1
1. Jimmy Reed And His Trio - High And Lonesome
2. The Spaniels - Baby, It's You
3. The Spaniels - Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite
4. Floyd Jones And Band - Ain't Times Hard
5. Jimmy Reed And His Trio - You Don't Have To Go
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. John Lee Hooker - Dimples
2. Pee Wee Crayton - The Telephone Is Ringing
3. Snooky Pryor - Judgment Day
4. The Staple Singers - Uncloudy Day
5. Sonny Til's Orioles - For All We Know
See all 22 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. The Swan Silvertones - Mary Don't You Weep
2. Memphis Slim - Steppin' Out
3. Rosco Gordon - Just A Little Bit
4. Jimmy Reed Baby - What You Want Me To Do
5. Donnie Elbert - Will You Ever Be Mine
See all 21 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Christine Kittrell - I'm A Woman
2. Jerry Butler - Make It Easy On Yourself
3. The Four Seasons - Sherry
4. Gene Chandler - Rainbow
5. The Pyramids - Shakin' Fit
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 21, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • 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: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B000TJ6AQ0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,940 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Eliminator Man on October 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
My original review of this set included a complaint that the song, The Twist, was missing. Just wasn't on the disc even though it was in the track listing and in the note. I checked AMG and their samples had the same problem my disc had. After I whined about this in my review I emailed Shout! Factory to complain to them. I got a nice email back from them and within a week I got a new copy of disc two sent to me in the mail. Excellent customer service and not what I was expecting which was to be ignored. I commend them for that.

I have the Bear Family Blowin' the Fuse set of R and B songs from 1946-1960 which also has Hank Ballard doing the Twist. That version is very close to the Chubby Checker version and I assume it was the model for the Chubby Checker version. The version on this disc is very different from those two with a very different rhythm structure. I think this was the first version. Nice to have all three.

Beyond that song, this is a nice box, sequenced well, fun to listen to, heavy on the Jimmy Reed as it should be. I would have included my favorite Jimmy Reed song, Shame Shame Shame, with some of that extra cd space that Mike mentions in his review.

The package is nice. There are notes on each song, similar to the notes in the Bear Family collection. Nice to have. I have no complaints about the package, but I wouldn't call it "gorgeous". That reviewer loses alot of credibility with his raving. My standard for a gorgeous box set package would be the Revenant boxes for Charlie Patton and Albert Ayler or maybe the deluxe limited edition of the Forever Changing Elektra collection.

So I'm happy with this and you will be too if you like this type of music or just want to start exploring the old stuff.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By korova on December 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
You're in a smoky, rundown dive bar. You know, the kind that's near a bus station, hasn't had a woman in it since 1957 and is called something like the Frolic Room or the Tick Tock. Sound good to you? Well, this box set is the jukebox in the joint.

Yup, there are a lot of great tracks here. The sequencing reinforces the somewhat scattershot nature of Vee-Jay though; rather than having a house-sound like, say, Stax or Chess, Vee-Jay covered several genres. The result is a mishmash of different styles, sounds, and attitudes. It's not a bad thing...just don't expect a highly focused experience. Just like that old jukebox under the buzzing neon beer sign, no?

Be sure to check Disc 2 carefully if you buy this set. As mentioned by earlier reviewers, "The Twist" may be missing. If you contact Shout Factory corporate customer service (NOT the customer service for their online store) they will send you a replacement disc without any hassles--at least they did so for me. It's nice that Shout Factory has made it easy to obtain corrected discs.

Bottom line: not an essential set but good for anybody who already has the basic building blocks in their blues, R&B, soul, and gospel collections. Also good for collectors who are into cover versions due to the inclusion of the originals of "Tainted Love" and "You're No Good", among others. The book is decently put together but could have included a lot more info about both songs and artists.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Manning on August 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
David D. (reviewer below) obviously works for Shout Factory! as every single review by him is 5 stars for a Shout Factory! product (including the "Hootenany" dvd set!)

Track selection is nice but missing a few (didn't expect nor need the Beatles). Just dissapointed that only 22 songs or so per disc when most all of these songs are 2 1/2 minute R&B numbers. Hopefully the price will come down a little bit as $53 is too much money for a four disc box set in this day and age. Maybe shout factory will release some extended 1 disc sets of some of these great, but somewhat forgotten, R&B stars.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bernie Rosman on January 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This box set is a very good collection of Vee-Jay blues, early soul, doo-wop, and gospel, but watch out for a defective disk 2 which on my purchase and replacement was missing track 12 ("The Twist" by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters). Amazon was quite cooperative, however, and eventually I received a correct disk 2 from the producer (Shout).
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