Just Go Wild: Chess go rocking

15th March 2017

Title: Over Rock And Roll

Label: Spectrum

An interesting 2CD compilation from this Universal imprint, it examines the rock’n’roll outpt from the Chess label. Itself arguably more famous for its blues output. That said, the label did feature the likes of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Maybe that’s why this double disc compilation of 40 tracks features those artists on 13 of them. The former presents songs such as No Particular Place, Johnny B. Goode and Maybellene while the latter offers Bo Diddley, Who Do You Love? and You Can’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover.

There’s plenty of other artists featured here, though. Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats plays the early (and some say the very first true) roll’n’roll ditty, Rocket 88 while Bobby Charles appears with Time Will Tell and Dale Hawkins offers Little Pig. Other featured artists include Lou Josie, Eddie Fontaine, Billy Barrix and The Jet Tones.

You get a 22-page booklet along with the set featuring plenty of good quality photographs, record labels and sleeve art. The text itself provides a decent general overview although you do miss the more dedicated scholarly and detailed approach that more specialist labels (ie Ace, Cherry Red, etc.) can provide.

Most of the songs here were recorded in mono and are presented thusly. There are seven tracks in stereo, though, including Chuck Berry’s My Ding-A-Ling, Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry’s (I Don’t Know Why) But I Do and Bo Diddley’s Stinkey.

Mastering, in general terms, is good. Inherent compression of the time is retained but this only adds to the nostalgic feel of the times and so doesn’t damage listening pleasure unduly because the reissue has tamed the harsh brightness to some extent.

A broad compilation of familiar tunes plus welcome rarities.