Two New Releases in Bear Family’s “Rock” Series

Title: Rocks

Artist: Chuck Berry

Label: Bear Family

Format: CD

Catalog No.: BCD 17139

Release date: November 15, 2011

 

Without Chuck Berry, there is no rock ‘n’ roll. Chuck Berry taught us how rock guitar is supposed to sound and established teenage rebellion as the thematic thrust of the genre.  In 1955 at the age of 30, his debut single “Maybellene” established him in the American psyche as a bona fide star and a star he would remain. Releasing hit after hit on Chess Records, all of which he wrote himself, he shocked audiences with his fantastic stage-moves, including thrusts, splits and the famous Duckwalk. This collection covers his output from “Maybellene” to 1964’s “Dear Dad,” one of his last Chess recordings.  Producers represented in the collection include Leonard Chess, Phil Chess and Chuck Berry. The 52-page booklet features liner notes by the highly regarded R&B historian Bill Dahl.

The compilation includes 32 tracks recorded between 1955 and 1965:

Maybellene, Thirty days (To Come Back Home), You Can’t Catch Me, No Money Down, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, Roll Over Beethoven, Too Much Monkey Business, School Day (Ring! Goes the Bell), Rock And Roll Music, Oh Baby Doll, Sweet Little Sixteen, Reelin’ and Rocking, Johnny B. Goode, Around & Around, Beautiful Delilah, Carol, Memphis, Tennessee, Sweet Little Rock And Roller, Run Rudolph Run, Little Queenie, Almost Grown, Back In The U.S.A., Betty Jean, Let It Rock, Bye Bye Johnny, Jaguar and Thunderbird, Go-Go-Go, Nadine (Is It You?), You Never Can Tell, Promised Land, No Particular Place To Go, and Dear Dad.

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Title: Rocks

Artist: Slim Harpo

Label: Bear Family

Format: CD

Catalog No.: BCD 17129

Release date: November 15, 2011

 

Slim Harpo’s raw, Louisiana swamp style was illustrated most famously in his blues recordings, but this collection is set up to remind listeners that Harpo could also rock ‘n’ roll and even produce pop hits, like his chart toppers “Rainin’ in My Heart” and “Baby Scratch My Back.” Inspired by Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed and Little Walter, Slim Harpo had a classic blues schooling.  I’m A King Bee, perhaps Harpo’s most well-known recording, was covered to great acclaim by the Rolling Stones and also by his childhood hero Muddy Waters. The song is presented here in its single form and in alternate takes, a unique opportunity from a time when most artists could only afford a single take. Most of the tracks in the collection are probably unknown to the casual listener, making this a great introduction to the works of Slim Harpo.  Producers represented in the collection include Jay Miller, Dave Bartholomew, Robert Holmes and James Moore. The 32-page booklet features liner notes by Jeff Hannusch.

The compilation includes 31 tracks recorded between 1957 and 1969:

Wild About My Baby, I Got Love If You Want It, I’m A King Bee, You’ll Be Sorry One Day, That Ain’t Your Business, Buzz Me Babe, My Little Queen Bee (Got A Brand New King) I’m Waiting On You Baby, Something Inside Me, Bobby-Sox Baby, I Need Money (Keep Your Alibis), Yeah Yeah Baby, Shake Your Hips, Harpo’s Blues, Don’t Start Cryin’ Now, Boogie Chillun, Baby, Scratch My Back, Buzzin’, Hey Little Lee, The Music’s Hot, Wondering And Worryin’, Late Last Night, That’s Alright (aka You’ll Be Sorry One Day), That’s Alright Baby (aka Don’t Start Crying Now), Cigarettes, Buzz Me Babe, I’m A King Bee, You Ain’t Never Had To Cry, I Got Love If You Want It, Wondering and Worryin’, Rainin’ in My Heart

 

Reviewed by Dorothy Berry