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Bear Family Records –Making old music feel young again!
Since 1975, Bear Family has been reissuing state-of-the-art LPs and CDs. In fact, label founder Richard Weize has repeatedly said that if he had more money, he would only issue more records.Although associated with fanatically complete editions, Bear Family should be equally renowned for thematic compilations: check out the extensive single CD series and boxes devoted to subjects as diverse as the year-by-year history of R&B and soul music ('Blowin' the Fuse,' 'Sweet Soul Music' and funk coming soon), the year-by-year history of country music ('Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Hillbilly Music'), musical histories of the Vietnam War ('Next Stop Is Vietnam') and nuclear age songs ('Atomic Platters'), Jewish music recorded in Germany during the Nazi era ('Beyond Recall'), calypso music recorded in Trinidad ('West Indian Rhythm').
Look out for Bear Family's profiles
of unjustly forgotten singer-songwriters like Jim Ford, and DVDs of classic blues, country and rock 'n' roll artists, and so much more. And let's not forget those career-encompassing or golden era-encompassing sets of rock 'n' roll icons including Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Ricky Nelson, the Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, Bill Haley, Duane Eddy, or the Beatles' Hamburg recordings. Or similarly definitive sets of country legends like the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe, to name a few. Or blues/R&B sets by Freddie King, Louis Jordan, the Platters, and many more.
Bear Family has also devoted lavish boxes or definitive CDs
to trailblazers, neglected geniuses, or simply great musicians who deserve to be better known. Perhaps only Bear Family would devote an entire box to artists like Jimmie Driftwood (the folklorist who composed Battle Of New Orleans
), Cliff Bruner andis Texas Wanderers, or risqué blues legend Julia Lee.These days, digital downloads and out-of-copyright laws have cheapened some of this great music, but at Bear Family it is always presented with the loving attention to detail that it deserves. Every set includes elements that no other reissues can touch: fabulously restored sound, lavishly illustrated booklets or hard-covered LP-size books with fanatically complete discographies, unpublished photos, and definitive texts from some of the world's best writers. In some cases, you might be able to get the music cheaper elsewhere, but you will never get the 360-degree Bear Family experience anywhere else.
Critic Dave Marsh said,"In the confines of my office are 52 Bear Family box sets. Each is a part of my life's education, an example of how to do things not just completely but right, how to treasure music for the right reasons, not just because it's a thrill."
And, finally, a word about Bear Family's mail order business. There are 30,000 titles encompassing too many genres to mention. Hassle-free ordering. Worldwide shipping. And a reputation built on customer service since 1975!
Bear Family Records – Number 1 in high quality reissues.
Country, rockabilly, beat, soul, r&b, rock 'n' roll, schlager, teenbeat, bluegrass, soul, western swing, cajun, calypso and much more…Here's just a taste of what Bear Family Records has to offer:
Charlie Walker – Honky Tonk Women
It's true that Charlie had second thoughts before recording this Rolling Stones classic, but we're glad he did it because we think it's the ultimate version. Our 5-CD Charlie Walker boxed set 'Pick Me Up On Your Way Down' is a must-have for any serious fan of genuine honky tonk music!
Louvin Brothers – Satan Is Real
Harmony singing rarely gets any better than the Louvin Bros. Hailed as heroes by everyone from Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris to today's young singing sensation First Aid Kit, the Louvins' influence on truly great music is ongoing and never-ending. Our 8-CD boxed set 'Close Harmony' presents their complete recordings.
Buddy Covelle – Lorraine
Loud, wild, and nearly out-of-control. That was Buddy Covelle. He's on one of our 27-volume rockabilly series 'That'll Flat Git It.' Yes, that's 27 individual volumes of primo rockabilly…with more planned. Check out the informative booklets and the best-ever sound quality!
Big Joe Turner – Boogie Woogie Country Girl
Bear Family has a deep catalog of the finest R&B and soul. Our year-by-year 'Blowing The Fuse' series is beyond essential and the same could be said about the boxed sets and comprehensive anthologies by artists such as Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Fats Domino, Roy Lee Johnson, Smiley Lewis, the Cadillacs, and many more!
Short Buckle Roark & Family - Now I Truly Understand
This haunting tale of faded love comes from the double Grammy nominated 'Bristol Sessions' set. Ralph Peer discovered the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers during his 1927 and '28 sessions in Bristol, Tennessee, but the other artists (rarely if ever reissued until now) give a full picture of rural American music at the dawn of the recording industry. Truly, the beginning of it all!
Cindy & Bert – Der Hund von Baskerville
Bear Family has released many definitive anthologies of German pop from the '60s & '70s. This unbelievable interpretation of Black Sabbath's Paranoid
is a good example of what can be found on our 'Pop In Germany' series. Serious fans of the German music scene should look for our extensive re-issue program with its focus on the Schlager scene. O yes, we also have a HUGE program of Star Club related releases. Check them out on www.bear-family.com
Jerry Lee Lewis – Home Away From Home
The complete recordings of Jerry Lee Lewis 1956-1977 are available on three extensive boxed sets. In addition to those, we have also released individual Killer CDs. We especially recommend 'Old Time Religion' with Jerry Lee preaching the gospel in church. And don't overlook what is probably the best live album ever; 'Live At The Star Club, Hamburg' It's on CD and special vinyl edition.
Ronnie Hawkins - Forty Days
When Ronnie Hawkins recruited a young Robbie Robertson to his band he guaranteed low money but more pussy than Frank Sinatra. We don't know how that worked out, but we do know that Hawkins and the Hawks came up with enough shakin' material to fill a volume of our popular 'Rocks' series. Other inductees in this series are Johnny Burnette, Glen Glenn, Bill Haley, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins and many more. The full list is on our website.
Maddox Brothers & Rose - Ugly And Slouchy
If you're after wild and crazy country boogie and hillbilly, look no further than our 'Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight' series. If you ever wondered where Jerry Lee, Elvis, Carl Perkins and all the other 50s rockers got half their style and most of their cool – check out our releases by the Carlisles, Little Jimmy Dickens, Pee Wee King, the Maddox Brothers & Rose, and many more.
Wynn Stewart – Playboy
Bear Family has done the right thing by Bakersfield country. Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Bonnie Owens, Tommy Collins and Red Simpson have now received the Bear Family treatment. Wynn Stewart may not be as familiar as Buck or Merle, but he's the godfather of the Bakersfield sound. He has a career-spanning 10-CD Bear Family box or a single CD sampler on Bear Family.
Roy Lee Johnson – So Anna Just Loves Me
There's plenty of soul on Bear Family! The 10 volume 'Sweet Soul Music' series contains a fine selection of the best the genre has to offer. Our 6 DVD series, 'The!!!!Beat,' is a complete reissue of a classic R&B TV show from Nashville, featuring Etta James, Percy Sledge, the Kelly Brothers, Barbara Lynn and many more in their prime. Look as well for single-CD R&B and soul anthologies. The powerful and gritty So Anna Just Loves Me
comes from the Roy Lee Johnson anthology 'When A Guitar Plays The Blues.'
Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys - Bubbles In My Beer
Western Swing is heavily represented on Bear Family and our two sets by Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys include all of their commercial recordings from 1929 until 1973. Every "ah-ha"
first to last, not to mention American roots music at its swingin' finest!
Gene Vincent – Bird Doggin'
Gene Vincent was the ultimate rocker, and at Bear Family he has the ultimate boxed set. Every known recording! Premium sound quality! Never-heard alternate takes! Unpublished photos! Gene led a rough life and died young, but he's still the go-to guy! Bird Doggin'
comes from our 8-CD boxed set 'The Road Is Rocky – Complete Studio Recordings 1956-1971'
- Rev J.M. Gates – Smoking Woman In The Street
Themed compilations are something we all enjoy at Bear Family. We've done entertaining ones about records ('One More Record Please'), the cold hard facts of life ('Shit Happens') and explicit language R&B ('Eat To The Beat'). We've even done a smoking one about cigarettes… 'Smoke That Cigarette!'
- Waylon Jennings – Mental Revenge
Outlaw icon Waylon Jennings made groundbreaking, never-less-than-interesting records throughout his career. Those made between 1958 and 1972 are split between two Bear Family boxed sets. You may also be interested in our two definitively deluxe sets presenting the complete recordings of Willie Nelson 1954-1972. Beyond essential!
- Jim & Jesse – Johnny B Goode
There's Bluegrass galore on Bear Family. The complete recordings of Bill Monroe are available in a series of 6 multi disc sets. We have also reissued everything by Flatt & Scruggs, as well as definitive sets by the Osborne Brothers, the Stanley Brothers and not least Hylo Brown. Jim & Jesse were the first to take bluegrass in unexpected directions: here's Chuck Berry bluegrass style!
- The Lords – Raindreams
If garage rock, mid '60s beat and psych is your bag look no further than our 'Smash…! Boom…! Bang…!' audiotheque. So far we've put out a total of 30 installments (20-30 titles per CD). Names like The Rattles & The Lords will be familiar to any Eurobeat aficionado, but there are also exceptional recordings by groups such as the Poor Things, the Blizzards, and many more.
- Narvel Felts - When Your Good Love Was Mine
Narvel Felts has got a voice that sends shivers down your spine and certainly deserves the Bear Family treatment. We've reissued his early stuff and a 'Best of 1973-1979' anthology -music that would have made both '70s era Elvis and Charlie Rich green with envy.
- Al Casey & David Grisman– Sidewinder
Guitar ace Al Casey has played on many great recordings by artists and producers such as Duane Eddy and Lee Hazlewood. Everyone knows his memorable riff on Sanford Clark's The Fool.
As a member of L.A.'s Wrecking Crew in the '60s, Casey worked sessions with Elvis Presley, Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and countless others. Not many are aware that bluegrass/newgrass mandolonist-former Jerry Garcia sideman David 'Dawg' Grisman guests on Al Casey's 'Sidewinder' CD. Check it out!
- The Bailes Brothers – As Long As I Live
Fans of the Louvin Brothers, Blue Sky Boys, Everly Brothers and harmony singing in general need to hear our single disc Bailes Brothers anthology 'Oh So Many Years'. Just when you thought there was nothing great you hadn't heard!
- Don Gibson – Blue, Blue Day
Our 'Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Hillbillly Music' is an unbeatable presentation of the country music genre 1945-1970. One comprehensive volume is dedicated to every year and comes with a lavishly illustrated and detailed 72-page booklet from the pen of Colin Escott. Definitive? You Bet! (and while we're at it, we enjoy Don Gibson's music so much we've also dedicated 3 comprehensive boxed sets to him: quirky, riff-driven and unlike anything else in country music history!)
- Joe Carson – Forbidden Wine
Bear Family has resurrected many lesser known artists that should have topped the charts but for somehow didn't. In our world, singers like Onie Wheeler, Vernon Oxford and Dave Rich are considered giants. Joe Carson, too. He was a Texas honky tonker, otherwise best known for cutting the original version of Willie Nelson's I Gotta Get Drunk.
- Ben Hewitt -Way Down On Your Knees
Hewitt made fine 45s in the late '50s (of course these are reissued by Bear Family). In fact we liked Hewitt so much we signed him to the label in the mid '80s and got him back into the studio to record more stuff.
- Robert Gordon – It Hurts Too Much
In the late '70s and early '80s New York's Robert Gordon released an impressive slew of rockabilly nouveau records. Therefore he's well represented in our catalogue. At times Gordon was backed by guitar slinger Link Wray, so we're talking mid '50s rockabilly delivered with late '70s punk attitude.
- Sleepy LaBeef – Good Rockin' Boogie
Known as a human jukebox and Peter Guralnick's favorite live artist, Sleepy LaBeef still tours and pull enthusiastic crowds wherever he play around the world. Of course there's a Sleepy LaBeef boxed set on Bear Family (and if you think that's too much he has his own installment in our 'Rocks' series).
- Ronnie Dawson & High Noon - Fool About You
He was the drummer on Bruce Channel's Hey Baby
and Paul & Paula's Hey Paula
, but he was also the rockin' wild man with spooky blonde hair singin' the eternal Rockin' Bones.
He toured often, backed by neo-rockabilly acts such as High Noon, and was a popular figure on the international rockabilly scene until his untimely death in 2003.
- Jon Emery – Christy Ann
He's been hailed as 'The best country/rockabilly singer to come out of Austin since Willie Nelson.' We can only agree. Jon Emery has been around the Texas music scene since 1965 when he and future Asleep At The Wheel founder, Leroy Preston, were in a band called The VIPs.
- Jim Ford – Sounds Of Our Time
There's a rich variety of brilliant singer/songwriter and folk related material on Bear Family. Gordon Lightfoot, John Stewart, and many more. We even have a disc with the complete recordings of Louie & The Lovers. Jim Ford was Nick Lowe's favorite artist and Sly Stone's best friend. Here's why… Epilogue:
- Jim Diamond's Honky Tonk Monsoon – Bear Family
White Stripes producer, Ghetto Recorders owner and Detroit city garage rock hero Jim Diamond busted out an ode to his fave label. Bear Family, of course!
1."1": "Honky Tonk Women"
1."2": "Satan Is Real"
1."4": "Boogie Woogie Country Girl"
1."5": "Now I Truly Understand"
1."6": "Der Hund von Baskerville"
1."7": "Home Away From Home"
1."8": "Forty Days"
1."9": "Ugly And Slouchy"
1."11": "So Anna Just Loves Me"
1."12": "Bubbles In My Beer"
1."13": "Bird Doggin'"
1."14": "Smoking Woman In The Street"
1."15": "Mental Revenge"
1."16": "Johnny B. Goode"
1."17": "Rain Dreams"
1."18": "When Your Good Love Was Mine"
1."20": "As Long As I Live"
1."22": "Forbidden Wine"
1."23": "Way Down On Your Knees"
1."24": "It Hurts Too Much"
1."25": "Good Rockin' Boogie"
1."26": "Fool About You"
1."27": "Christy Ann"
1."28": "Sound Of Our Time"
1."29": "Bear Family (Epilogue)"