Bear Family Records Rocks Vol 1. Compilation

Rocks, the long-running series of compilations from Bear Family Records first appeared in 2002. Since then, there have been over 70 entries into the series, each one highlighting the rocking side of a band or artist’s catalogue. This first volume of Bear Family Records Rocks focuses on Rockers and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues from the 1950s. It contains 30 tracks; Is it worth picking up?

I have been reviewing Bear Family Records’ Rocks series since 2019. Through the eclectic selection of artists, I have discovered a large amount of recorded material I was previously unfamiliar with; Even from artists who were favourites.

The album begins with Fats Domino’s Be My Guest, a fitting opening. This album felt like a catch-up session, as I only started listening to and reviewing the series in 2019. It gave me a chance to hear recordings from artists such as Lloyd Price, Arthur Crudup, Smiley Lewis and Louis Prima. I also got to revisit old favourites including Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown, Clyde McPhatter and The ‘5’ Royales.

I have many favourites on this album, including one I wasn’t aware of, Slim Harpo’s Don’t Start Cryin’ Now, a fast bluesy number with an infectious groove. There are also familiar tracks including Reelin’ And Rocking, Good Golly Miss Molly, You Can’t Judge A Book By Looking At Its Cover and Three Cool Cats.

Sound Quality

Normally I would mention here about small tape defects and minor sound issues. In this case, Bear Family Records has mostly chosen the cream of the crop to showcase. Some tracks have less-than-ideal sound, but this can be a selling point for this type of material. It wouldn’t be a Rocks compilation without a hot 45 sound somewhere.

A Little Something Extra…

As with every entry in the series, the CD is housed inside a nicely printed digipak. Each photograph printed on the box is as crisp as possible, with only small signs of grain in some images when closely inspected. The included 34-page booklet includes liner notes written by Bill Dahl.


Bear Family Records has assembled a rocking compilation of uptempo numbers which demonstrates why the Rocks series has been successful for so long. As with every addition to the series, it features the popular but also leans into the obscure. If you’re looking for an album that celebrates 1950s Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Blues performers, this is for you! When volume 1 is THIS good, I look forward to seeing where this new celebratory run goes next. Bear Family Records Vol. 1 is available to order from Bear Family Records.


  1. Fats Domino – Be My Guest
  2. Champion Jack Dupree – Nasty Boogie
  3. Lloyd Price – Where You At?
  4. Little Richard – Good Golly, Miss Molly
  5. Jimmy McCracklin – Get Tough
  6. Arthur Crudup – I’m Gonna Dig Myself a Hole
  7. Jimmy Reed – She Don’t Want Me No More
  8. Little Junior Parker – I Wanna Ramble
  9. Ella Mae Morse – Have Mercy Baby
  10. Roy Milton – You Got Me Reeling and Rocking
  11. The Cadillacs – Holy Smoke Baby
  12. The Midnighters – Henry’s Got Flat Feed (Can’t Dance No More)
  13. Bo Diddley – You Can’t Judge a Book By The Cover
  14. Smiley Lewis – Lillie Mae
  15. The Coasters – Three Cool Cats
  16. The Platters – Out of My Mind
  17. Chuck Berry – Reelin’ And Rocking
  18. Slim Harpo – Don’t Start Cryin’ Now
  19. Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown – Boogie Uproar
  20. Clyde McPhatter – Deep Sea Ball
  21. Piano Red – She’s Dynamite
  22. Big Joe Turner – Morning, Noon And Night
  23. The ‘5’ Royales – Monkey Hips And Rice
  24. The Treniers – Poon-Tang
  25. Louis Prima – Jump, Jive An’ Wail
  26. The Drifters – No Sweet Lovin’
  27. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Just Don’t Care
  28. Amos Milburn – One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer
  29. Shirley & Lee – I Feel Good
  30. PLUS: The Johnny Otis Show – Good Golly

Bear Family Records Vol 1. Compilation




Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

Leave a Reply

Next Post

BEATin' on Country Music Compilation

Fri Feb 23 , 2024
Bear Family Records has released a compilation featuring 1960s beat groups performing Country music-associated songs. Featuring bands from all over the world, is this 30-track CD worth picking up? The […]

You May Like