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Vee-Jay: Definitive Collection Box set

4.3 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, August 21, 2007
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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

Track Listings

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
  6. L.C. Mckinley - Blue Evening
  7. Billy Boy Arnold - I Wish You Would
  8. The El Dorados - At My Front Door
  9. Morris Pejoe - Hurt My Feelings
  10. Eddie Taylor - Bad Boy
  11. The Highway QC's - Somewhere To Lay My Head
  12. Jay McShann's Orchestra, Vocalist Priscilla Bowman -Hands Off
  13. The Five Echoes - Fool's Prayer
  14. Earl Phillips - Oop De Oop
  15. The El Dorados With Al Smith's Orchestra -I'll Be Forever Loving You
  16. Jimmy Reed - Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
  17. Al Smith's Combo - Fooling Around Slowly
  18. The Magnificents - Up On The Mountain
  19. Eddie Taylor - Big Town Playboy
  20. Camille Howard - Rock `N Roll Mama
  21. The Dells - Oh What A Nite

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
  6. The Delegates - Mother's Son
  7. Billy Emerson - The Pleasure's All Mine
  8. Jimmy Reed - Honest I Do
  9. The Harmonizing Four - Farther Along
  10. Gene Allison - You Can Make It If You Try
  11. Elmore James - It Hurts Me Too
  12. Hank Ballard & The Midnighters - The Twist
  13. Priscilla Bowman With The Spaniels -A Rockin' Good Way
  14. Lee Diamond And The Upsetters - Hattie Malatti
  15. Bobby Parker - Blues Get Off My Shoulder
  16. Jerry Butler & The Impressions - For Your Precious Love
  17. Leonard Carbo - Pigtails And Blue Jeans
  18. John Lee Hooker - I Love You Honey
  19. The Original 5 Blind Boys Of Mississippi -Leave You In The Hands Of The Lord
  20. Dee Clark - Nobody But You
  21. Sheriff & The Ravels - Shombalor
  22. Harold Burrage - Crying For My Baby

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
  6. The Staple Singers - Will The Circle Be Unbroken
  7. Wade Flemons - Easy Lovin'
  8. John Lee Hooker - No Shoes
  9. J.B. Lenoir - Oh Baby
  10. Jerry Butler - He Will Break Your Heart
  11. Eddie Harris - Exodus
  12. Jimmy Reed - Big Boss Man
  13. Dee Clark - Raindrops
  14. The Pips With Gladys Knight - Every Beat Of My Heart
  15. The Sallie Martin Singers - Old Ship Of Zion
  16. Jimmy Reed - Bright Lights, Big City
  17. The Dukays - Nite Owl
  18. Gene Chandler - Duke Of Earl
  19. The Moonglows - Real Gone Mama
  20. The "5" Royales - Help Me Somebody
  21. John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom

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
  6. Birdlegs & Pauline And Their Versatility Birds - Spring
  7. Aki Aleong & The Nobles - Body Surf
  8. Betty Everett - You're No Good
  9. The Original Blind Boys Of Alabama -I Can See Everybody's Mother
  10. Betty Everett - The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)
  11. Jimmy Hughes - Steal Away
  12. The Honeycombs - Have I The Right
  13. Jerry Butler & Betty Everett - Let It Be Me
  14. Hoyt Axton - Bring Your Lovin'
  15. Betty Everett - Getting Mighty Crowded
  16. The Caravans - Walk Around Heaven All Day
  17. Gloria Jones - Tainted Love
  18. Billy Preston - Billy's Bag
  19. The Dells - Stay In My Corner
  20. Fred Hughes - Oo Wee Baby, I Love You
  21. Joe Simon - Let's Do It Over
  22. Little Richard - I Don't Know What You've Got But It's Got Me

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: #98,030 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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