Following an unsatisfying three-year stint at Mercury Records, Chuck Berry returned home to Chess in 1969, just like Phil Chess predicted. Heading home didn’t necessarily mean retreating, as the four-disc Have Mercy: His Complete Chess Recordings 1969-1974 illustrates. During his time at Mercury, Chuck followed the kids wherever they went, aligning himself with the psychedelic ‘60s in a way none of his peers did. This shift is immediately apparent on “Tulane,” the very first song he cut upon his return to Chess. An ode to a couple of kids who dealt dope underneath the counter of a novelty shop, “Tulane” puts Chuck on the side of the counterculture, and over the next five years, he never strayed back to the other side of the fence, often singing about getting stoned, dabbling with a wah-wah pedal, rhapsodizing about rock festivals, cheerfully telling smutty jokes.
The Dells were one of the few groups that rode the transition from doo wop to smooth soul without missing a beat and without falling off the charts. Just as remarkably, the group did so without declining much in quality, as Hip-O's definitive double-disc Anthology proves. Throughout these 36 tracks, the music changes, from street-corner R&B to string-drenched disco-soul, but in all their incarnations, The Dells always sound wonderful. There are a handful of minor hits missing, but all the big singles – including both the Vee-Jay and Cadet versions of "Oh, What a Nite" and "Stay in My Corner" – are here, assembled chronologically.
Packaging-wise and title-wise, the Rhino label's Hip Hop: The Collection is as generic as they come, but after that, all complaints are minimal. Get it at the right price, and it doesn't even matter that the theme is mega-broad and that the T.I. hit isn't one everyone knows, because when a collection goes from Afrika Bambaataa's seminal electro-rap "Planet Rock… Don't Stop" to Missy Elliot's "Get Ur Freak On" with barely any filler in the middle, the freak is on and the planet is certainly rocked. The set jumps time periods at will, and yet the sequencing works, so consider it a time capsule or a portable party, because it's both.
Donovan’s folky 1965 recordings for Pye Records (they were released in the U.S. by Hickory Records) bear only a superficial resemblance to the more hip pop material he began issuing a year later when he switched to Epic Records.
All eight of the albums Wes Montgomery issued on Verve in the mid-'60s (including the two he did with organist Jimmy Smith) are on this limited-edition, five-CD box set. With the addition of 20 bonus tracks (none previously unreleased, some of them alternate takes or overdubbed versions) and a 76-page booklet that includes readable reproductions of the original LP sleeves, it's the definitive compilation of his work for the label. By its very size, of course, its appeal might be limited to completists and serious collectors.
This double-CD set is the first of two anthologies to gather the solo work of Temptations co-founder Eddie Kendricks. Included are his early-'70s long-players All by Myself, People…Hold On, Eddie Kendricks, and For You.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date. Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. (So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut?)