Title Of Album: Chicago Hit Factory: The Vee Jay Story 1953-1966
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Charly Records
Genre: Blues, Jazz, Bebop
Quality: 320 Kbps
Total Time: 715:54 min
Total Size: 1600 MB
Celebrating sixty years since the launch of one of the most successful independent record labels in US Popular music.
Received wisdom would have us believe that before Motown, no black-owned record company had made a significant impact on the US mainstream. However, the actuality is something else entirely. Way back in the early 50s, long before Berry Gordy had written his first song, Vee-Jay Records – a black, family owned and run, Chicago-based label – was establishing itself via a steady stream of Blues, R&B, DooWop and Gospel hits. Vee-Jay opened for business in 1953 and for a dozen or so years – until their spectacular fall from grace, under a welter of debts, in 1966 – they flourished virtually unchallenged as the premier black label in the United States, registering not only a flood of hits on the R&B charts, but regularly crossing them over to the Top 100.
In addition to their Blues, R&B and Soul successes, they also charted with white acts – most notably The Four Seasons, whose first three Vee-Jay singles went to #1 – and with licensed-in material from the UK (they famously issued the first Beatles records in the US). They were certainly the first black indie to acknowledge the significance the albums’ market – they even cut a double-LP on Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall – and they scored equally heavily with mainstream Jazz and Gospel recordings.
This 10-CD set traces the history of Vee-Jay records from its very first hit, ‘Baby It’s You’ by The Spaniels, through to Jerry Butler’s re-cut of his perennial ‘For Your Precious Love’, their very last chart record in early 1966. Due to restrictions of playing time it is not possible to include every chart record, nor – for contractual reasons – is it possible to include more than a couple of tracks by The Four Seasons, The Beatles, or other licensed-in UK hits. Nonetheless, these ten discs present a coherent, enjoyable history of the Vee-Jay family – as well as the ‘parent’ label, there were also the Falcon, Abner, Tollie and Interphon subsidiaries – including a plethora of fascinating releases that didn’t quite make it.
Features a generous 269 tracks, including 112 hits, by more than 120 different artists, and a 72-page, memorabilia-laden, perfect bound booklet comprising a detailed history of the Vee-Jay family of labels and their artists, together with wealth of photos.
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