I’m not usually a huge fan of re-releases.
The last time I got into big a set was when MCA re-issued Fela Kuti’s catalog, which tapped into an unbeknownst Afrobeat gene for a couple years and ruined a couple of relationships.
These Vee-Jay recordings digitally re-released by the Orchard late last year are about to do the same with my inner soul junkie.
The Vee-Jay Records story itself has the makings of a blues classic: love, family infighting and corporate tyranny were scattered throughout the label’s history before it finally closed its doors in 1966.
In the four decades since, fans have made several efforts to resurrect the label’s catalog – most notably on the 1990s Vee-Jay Box Set: The Definitive Collection.
But technology, and music, has come a long way since then.
That box set attempted to sum up Vee-Jay’s 13-year history with three easy-to-absorb discs; the recent reissues open an entire 17-disc catalog to a new generation of fans … specifically, those born in the last 40 years.
Whether this generation has the patience to look past some of the hits available here to see the light in an Original Blind Boys gospel track; feel the pathos in Lightin’ Hopkins guttural blues guitar; enjoy the innocent funk of a nearly pre-pubescent Curtis Mayfield doo-wopping with The Impressions; or marvel at Little Richard’s earnest soul before he got all weird … well, people seek it out in record stores, and this stuff sounds better and is easier to find.
The re-releases – 17 albums deep – are available on eMusic.