The monumental influence of Bo Diddley on the development of rock and roll guitar has never been more extensively chronicled than on Hip-O Select’s essential I’m a Man: The Chess Masters, 1955-1958.
This two-CD blockbuster contains all 48 masters the shave-and-a-haircut rhythm wizard waxed for Checker during his most seminal period.
Along with all the classic rockers we already love, there are two unissued alternate takes of “Bo Diddley” from his first date (one as hot as the hit), an alternate “Say Man,” an early “Run Bo Diddley,” and perhaps most intriguingly, Bo’s original “Love Is Strange,” complete with lyrics. (www.hip-oselect.com)
You wouldn’t think Motown’s archives would still be brimming with unissued ‘60s gems, but A Cellarful of Motown! Volume 3 reveals there’s plenty left.
Forty-six tracks comprise the British two-CD set, and nearly everything by Brenda Holloway, the Miracles, the Contours, the Spinners, Marv Johnson, The Temptations, Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder, The Marvelettes, Shorty Long, The Spinners, Jr. Walker and The All Stars, Carolyn Crawford, Clarence Paul, The Originals, Blinky & Edwin Starr, Chris Clark, and plenty more is previously unheard. There’s even a unique pairing of Holloway fronting The Supremes on “Going To A Go Go.” (www.motown45.co.uk)
While a couple of tracks are open to debate (what are Hall & Oates doing on here?), there’s plenty to savor on Rhino Handmade’s four-CD Atlantic Soul (1959-1975).
Much of it is easily obtainable elsewhere, but the set boasts a sizable share of rarities by The Falcons, The Vibrations, The Ohio Untouchables, Mack Rice, Jo Ann & Troy, Tommy Hunt, The Isley Brothers, Jimmy Hughes, Harvey Scales, Alvin Robinson, Garland Green, The Valentinos and The Persuaders underscoring the depth of the label’s mammoth soul catalog. (www.rhinohandmade.com)
Shout! Factory continues to investigate the archives of Chicago’s Vee-Jay Records, with four entries in a new The Best of the Vee-Jay Years series.
Bluesman Jimmy Reed launched the label in 1953 with his laconic vocals and high-end harp; his 18-tracker includes the immortal “Baby What You Want Me To Do” and “Big Boss Man.”
Jerry Butler’s 16-song comp opens with his spine-chilling “For Your Precious Love” as lead of the The Impressions and features “He Will Break Your Heart,” “Find Another Girl,” and “I’m A Telling You” with Curtis Mayfield’s guitar and vocal harmony.
Vee-Jay’s doo-wop roster boasted The Dells, whose 17-song disc ranges from the street-corner ballad smash “Oh What A Nite” to their soul sender “Stay In My Corner,” and The Staple Singers developed into gospel royalty at Vee-Jay thanks to “Uncloudy Day” and “This May Be The Last Time,” two of their CD’s 17 sides. (www.shoutfactory.com)
Breezy soul chanteuses grace the Kent Records release slate.
Nella Dodds was still a high schooler when she waxed the 15 captivating songs on This is a Girl’s Life — The Complete Wand Recordings 1964-1965, including her hit Philly soul cover of The Supremes’ “Come See About Me” and three unreleased charmers.
Still musically active