Ever been disappointed in a Bear Family box set?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by spanky1, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. spanky1

    spanky1 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    East Tennessee
    I've been reading the recent thread asking about disappointing box sets. I wonder how often this happens with Bear Family sets? These aren't geared toward the casual fan, rather they are usually purchased by those fans very familiar with the artist or group. I did see mention of a complaint with a Louis Prima set, but follow-up comments indicated that this set was exactly as advertised.

    Why do we not see Bear Family sets listed as disappointments? Is it because the sales are a fraction of many of the "mainstream" sets? Is it because of discerning fans knowing what they are buying? Is it because of the care that Richard Weize put into each set? Or is it a combination of all these things?

    I own 20+ Bear boxes and I'm always happy with them.....mostly. My only disappointment is still a mystery to me. I own all of the Jerry Lee Lewis lp and cd sets. I owned the 3 huge lp box sets (The Killer) which covered 1963-1977 on ~30 lps. Several years later, these sets were covered in 2 box sets. The Locust Years, covering 1963-1969 on 8 cds. Then 1970-1977 was covered on 10 cds in the Mercury Smashes box.

    The Locust Years set was perfect, but the Mercury Smashes set had terrible pictures for the cd jewel cases. They looked like blurry, poor quality reproductions that you might find on some bargain cd. This is in stark contrast to the photos on the cd jewel case for the Locust Years set, which were wonderful photos.

    I've always seen high quality artwork on their box sets and individual sets. Not sure what happened on the MERCURY YEARS set. Anyway, I wouldn't callthe box set a disappointment, only this part of it.
  2. Steve...O

    Steve...O Forum Resident

    Never disappointed in any of my sets. Only disappointments with Bear are when a set goes OOP and I can't find it (I couldn't afford these sets 20 years ago when a lot of these were first released) or when a particular artist doesn't get a follow up set. In the latter case I don't fault Bear if the economics don't justify it.

    Of course the recent debacles over the Jones licensing and lack of American distribution are a whole another discussion
    McLover and melstapler like this.
  3. stereoguy

    stereoguy Its Gotta Be True Stereo!

    Never. I'd never say a bad thing about Bear Family. They have stuck their necks out to bring up oldies collectors the GOODS. Who else was gonna do box sets on Del Shannon and Lesley Gore?

    The only think I wish they would fix is the "Still in Style" With The Crickets Cd. There are a bunch of tracks that were supposed be stereo but ended up mono.
    melstapler likes this.
  4. darling

    darling Forum Resident

    Philadelphia, PA
    I didn't like a number of choices they made with their Chuck Berry box. From out-of-sequence tracks; to leaving off LP versions in favor of 45 versions (or vice versa); to leaving off previously released outtakes; to presenting the Toronto concert with between-song fades which missed some talk. It's great, but not perfect.
    melstapler likes this.
  5. melstapler

    melstapler Reissue Activist

    What an incredible back catalog. Whether CDs or LPs, most of us are very grateful for the numerous compilations and comprehensive box sets which have been released over the past several decades. More recently, I've been very satisfied with the larger box sets and titles representing prominent artists such as The Killer, Chuck Berry, George Jones and Roy Acuff.

    In the world of roots music, so many artists remain under-represented and interesting stories remain untold. At one time, we relied on Bear Family to release these recordings and tell those stories. So many deserving classic artists remain ignored and forgotten and have not been given the proper treatment.

    Sadly, my marriage to Bear Family is losing passion and steam. Although I have no plans of abandoning Bear Family, I've been giving into temptation in recent years, buying less-desirable releases from other labels.
  6. monkeytree

    monkeytree Forum Resident

    austin, tx
    The Del Shannon box had SO MUCH unreleased material and SO LITTLE information about the tracks in the booklet.
    That set really needed to give us some history and context behind all those rare songs.
  7. mesfen

    mesfen Forum Resident

    lawrence, ks usa
    Roy Orbison set disappointed me. The book was excellent, but there was too much fill in the box like the exhausting telephone interview with former band mates. The Sun recordings are superb, but I discovered that much of his monument recordings are just plain dull
    melstapler likes this.
  8. smitquest

    smitquest Forum Resident

    Lancaster, NY, USA
    i never fully warmed to the charlie rich set--the sound quality seems pretty good, but i really wished that they would have put it in chronological order, something i'm hesitant to do myself because there's not too much information on the demos included on disc three.

    probably just me.

    my real beef has been some of the more recent masterings, which left me longing for the boppin' bob jones magic...

    RETROLUXE and Dennis Metz like this.
  9. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Anyone have an issue with some of the discs in the Ray Price set not playing?
  10. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    NO. I'm happy with the ones I own.
  11. Torontotom

    Torontotom Forum Resident

    My only disappointment is I don't own more of them!
  12. GodBlessTinyTim

    GodBlessTinyTim Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    There are some sets on which I wish the alternate takes were spaced out instead of being sequenced consecutively, but that's wholly a matter of my personal taste.

    I can't confirm this, but a review of Wesley Tuttle's Detour box claimed it omits an entire disc's worth of songs from the period it covers. Unless those are lost recordings, I would be somewhat disappointed.

    Strange, my copy plays fine. Have you tried them in multiple CD players?
    Rick Bartlett likes this.
  13. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    I think it may be my cheaper player that is being finicky. I played it on a friends and it plays fine.
  14. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    I wish I had more too, but you can't have everything so they tell me.....
    I also believe that no one else has or had the passion to put together the material
    that Bear Family has done in the past. Like mentioned above, who else would do box
    sets on Lesley Gore and Del Shannon to name just two.
    I would be really pushed to even pick out a favourite, I don't think I could do it.
    I am worried for the future releases on artists, other than RWA, there is nobody really
    at the helm of this level of documentation and preservation.
    Maybe there is hope in the likes of Jack White, his work on the Paramount recording period
    seems to be top notch from what I've seen.
    GodBlessTinyTim likes this.
  15. GodBlessTinyTim

    GodBlessTinyTim Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    That's most likely. A few of my Bear Family CDs skip or clip on my main CD player and laptop CD drive, but play fine in the car.
  16. Rick Bartlett

    Rick Bartlett Forum Resident

    if anything, I find some discs difficult to rip to my hard drive. the disc drive sounds like it's
    about to blow up or take off on some discs, most notably, the Waylon Jennings box sets.
  17. mpayan

    mpayan Forum Resident

    Have you had success with playing the ones that give you problems in another cd home cd player?

    Is it the lower grade transport that is the issue?
  18. Lucidae

    Lucidae AAD

    The Brenda Lee box abruptly cuts off just at the height of her chart success. Ditto for the second Connie Francis box.
    PhantomStranger and Reader like this.
  19. rswitzer

    rswitzer Forum Resident

    Golden, CO USA
    This is not really a complaint, but the liner/booklet notes for: George Jones A Good Year for the Roses: The Complete Musicor Recordings, 1965-1971, Pt. 2 are probably the most honest I've ever read about the shortcomings of the material he recorded during this period. "Emphasizing quantity over quality", "it can take some digging to ferret out those gems", "At Musicor, he was treated as a hitmaking machine, churning out pure product without discrimination". These are actually quotes from a review but they may have been taken straight from the box notes. One appreciates the lack of marketing artifice, but I don't really want to listen to the whole set again. I'll have to ferret out the gems for my own playlist.

  20. GodBlessTinyTim

    GodBlessTinyTim Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    Unfortunately mine is the only CD player in the house so I can't do an A:B. It has other issues like making a distressing noise when starting to read a disc, so it might be time for an upgrade.

    That reminds me, the book for skiffle singer Johnny Duncan's Last Train to San Fernando constantly draws unfavourable comparisons between Duncan and Lonnie Donegan. The author also insists that Duncan's guitarist was mainly responsible for his success. It's fine to point out shortcomings, but in this case the whole biography feels like an argument against its subject.
    rswitzer likes this.
  21. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    I didn't like some of the masterings, too loud and harsh for my taste; some of the George Jones and Buck Owens sets were affected, and there were more. Don't remember exactly which ones, haven't listened to those in years because of their sound.

    Another problem that's been mentioned is the fact that some BF CDs don't play or skip in (apparently older) CD players. I had a high-end player from the 1990s that didn't play them, but my current player has no problems.
  22. J.A.W.

    J.A.W. Music Addict

    Same here, as I posted above. Bob Jones' work was great.
  23. GodBlessTinyTim

    GodBlessTinyTim Forum Resident

    Ontario, Canada
    My player isn't even very old, it has iPod playback via USB and a remote control and other newfangled features but has always had problems with certain BF titles. As opposed to most people here, my troubles have been with older (c. 1990-1993) titles.
  24. Mr. H

    Mr. H Forum Resident

    Didn't buy it but why'd they just use the secular recordings for their Ernie Ford box? It could have been a fefinitive collection but as it stands, I'm not buying it.
    Steve...O likes this.
  25. The Lew

    The Lew Senior Member

    West Wales
    Can't fault Bear Family. The sets I've bought are spot on and the sets I don't fancy are no doubt spot on for the guys that dig them. Great label.

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