Bear Family… Boxing Clever
All too often ‘family’ is used as a misnomer for an organisation that resembles the Sicilian Mafia definition of the term… plenty of ‘respect’ masking simmering, sublimated tension and not a lot of love to be found anywhere. However the atmosphere in Bear Family’s farmhouse headquarters deep in the woods, some forty kilometres outside of Bremen in Northern Germany, is that of a real family. I was recently privileged to attend one of their bi-annual meetings in founder Richard Weize’s home where all the different family members gathered around a huge kitchen table to discuss different aspects of Bear Family business. The table was later revealed to be made from the door of Gabe Tucker's office in Houston, Texas. After Gabe had left his partnership with Colonel Tom Parker he started his own company which booked country artists into the Houston Halls who all signed the door on their visit to his office. The kitchen contained five, count them, five vintage juke boxes ranged around the walls hung with vintage posters and framed memorabilia and the family is obviously founded on a rock solid foundation of a love and respect for music, for musical history and for each other. The cockles of my heart were genuinely warmed and I gradually began to feel that the reports of the death of the record business had been greatly exaggerated.
“It has always been our goal to issue important music… whether it’s country, r&b, rock ‘n’ roll, classic pop or even British pop or Trinidadian calypso… regardless of sales potential.” Richard Weize
After thirty five years in the business their marvellously mastered box sets, which serve as the definition of ‘definitive’, are now the stuff of record reissue legend and all come replete with full colour hard back books containing rare photographs, track sheets, label scans and extensive learned liner notes. In many ways these sets have now moved outside the remit of popular entertainment and into the realms of research projects whose rightful home should be in temperature controlled conditions in university libraries. In an ideal world a Bear Family Box Set would be regarded as a doctorate dissertation or a professorship application. But they are not dry, scholarly tomes to be listened to and looked at once and filed away for research purposes for every release is packed with hugely entertaining, or meaningful, music. Perhaps Bear Family really do work in Robert Rauschenberg’s infamous gap between art and life. It’s hard to see it any other way.
“While we weren’t the first label to issue box sets we’re certainly the label that elevated the art of the box set to its highest possible level.” Richard Weize
In another room one wall is shelved from floor to ceiling with a selection of examples of Bear Family Box Sets and accompanying hard back books. For every box of ‘Complete Sun Singles’ (Volumes 1 to 6, BCD 15801 to 15806) there are less obvious compilations such as ‘Vorbei Beyond Recall’ (BCD 16030) recorded in Berlin by members of the Jewish Cultural League during the approach of the Second World War when anti-Semitism was a state doctrine. Under constant surveillance from the Gestapo their activities, by their very nature, had to be clandestine. How’s that for underground music? And then back with a bang to volume after volume of a distinctly German genre of home grown pop music known as ‘schlager’… “you either love it or loathe it” I was reliably informed.
“Bear Family has this great series called ‘Schlager im Spiegel Der Zeit’ (BCD 17159 to BCD 17189)… you could probably compare it to the English music hall tradition. It’s like a popular song that depicts certain topics that are in the popular mainstream like proverbs or sayings or certain strains of interests like crazes, certain hairdos… whatever… but especially contemporary schlager draws a lot on American popular music from the Sixties. When The Sir Douglas Quintet recorded ‘Mendocino’ their version was on the Dutch charts for thirty weeks and a German version was on the German charts for over thirty weeks… and from that time on every schlager song had that Tex Mex beat with the Farfisa organ ‘oompah, ooompah, oompah’ and so on…”
The Bear Family story has already been told in words and music in the ‘35!!! Years Bear Family Records’ three CD box set released in 2010 (BCD 17035) and this is only a snapshot. I hope it will go someway towards illustrating what makes Bear Family Records so special… starting with Richard Weize recalling how the company was founded.
“To cut a long story short I had friends who were older than I am and they were very poor people but they had everything which I didn’t have… and wouldn’t get… and they had a Bill Haley record, ‘Rock’, and I heard it from them and they said ‘well you can buy this at the record shop’. I grabbed all the money I had and I went to the record shop and they said ‘we don’t have that record. We only have ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and I decided I’d buy ‘Rock Around The Clock’ and I brought that record home and put it on the turntable for my father which was in one of his music cabinets. In those days you could buy a double sided needle… if you turn it round one side plays 78’s and the other side plays 45’s. We didn’t have any 45’s… only 78’s… and my father did this exchange with one of his friends since we didn’t have any 45’s… and the arm… the part where you switched the needle… was sort of broken so he glued the 78 needle on. Ruined the turntable, ruined the arm and so the record was confiscated and that was the end of that story.
Basically from that day on I liked records. Friends had records… and me too! In those days records were something enormous. It was not like today when it’s just another record… every record was precious… a real precious piece. And then in 1959 or 1960 a friend said: ‘Have you ever heard of Jim Reeves or Don Gibson?’ And I’d never heard of Jim Reeves or Don Gibson! I was reading the American charts and I knew everything… at least I thought I knew everything… and it p*ssed me off that were two names that I’d never heard of. He said: ‘Next time I come I’ll bring you these records from my brother’. He brought me one of these albums that thick… you know the 45 albums… bless him! It was so overfilled every pocket had two records in it. I had a look and it was only Don Gibson and Jim Reeves records and all issued in Germany. I couldn’t believe it! So many records I’d never seen… they’d never passed my way. And I played two records… two songs … ‘The Blizzard’ by Jim Reeves that I still remember to this day and possibly ‘Oh Lonesome Me’ or ‘Just One Time’ from Don Gibson.
And from that day onwards I started collecting Jim Reeves records and Jim Reeves came to Hanover and I saw him on stage. Jim Reeves once said ‘A stranger is a friend you haven’t met’ but when I met him in ’64… three months before he died… he really wasn’t very nice. Although that’s all hearsay people didn’t get along with him in the studio either. However, he was a perfectionist and, if you’re a perfectionist, and being persistent on things then it’s bound to be that people don’t like you because they’re a reminder that you’re not good and you have to repeat it and repeat it. And whatever the music is from him… for the most part it’s perfect. But I met him… blue eyed… and he just turned out to be a pain in the neck. Sometimes… what one doesn’t realise… is that these people are under constant pressure and you get all these idiots walking around them asking all these dumb questions and you always have the same answers and the same things.
At the time when I met Jim Reeves there was Bobby Bare, The Kerr Singers and a couple of others I’ve forgot. The others were very nice because they were coming to Germany… except Jim Reeves who was just not nice! But at the end of the day he was nice because Chet Atkins was there and Chet Atkins saw that he’d brushed me off and then took him into a room and closed the door. Five minutes later Jim Reeves came out and then he was ‘Gentleman Jim’. I’m pretty sure it was a promotional tour for RCA… which they were on… and you can’t just p*ss people off. Even if it’s a dummy like me… a blue eyed fan. Some things did come out of it… I made a sixteen CD Box Set of Jim Reeves… everything he ever did. He didn’t see that because he’d been long dead. Something eventually comes out of something. You always meet people twice in your life. You always have to realise that and try to be as nice as possible and, in general, try to be a person who is friendly. I’m not always friendly!
At the same time we had a book shop at home and so I made my way into Teldec Records and Distribution so I could buy my records at wholesale and then I got hold of a Schwann Catalogue. Do you know what a Schwann Catalogue is? It was the bible in those days. It had all the new releases plus all the old releases which were still available… the famous Schwann Catalogue… and that was really great. In those days it was good… you got it and you saw what was available… it was expensive. I don’t know how I got hold of it… I probably only had one… and there was an advertisement from David Eskin Export in the States. And I had nothing better to do on the letter head of my parents’ book shop than write to him! I bought records in big quantities from him… twenty LPs at a time… and I had this list and people said ‘I want this and I want that’ and so I combined orders. In those days an LP in Germany… I can’t remember exactly… cost either 18 or 19 marks and a record from the States, which had a thick cover and looked ten times as good, cost 28 to 30 marks. So I got them, I imported them, and even with all the costs involved, it was about 11 marks so I sold them to my friends for 12 marks… and for every ten records I had one record free! And this worked so that’s why I got into the record business. Then I stopped. I got married and went to England. Stopped completely…
In ’68 I was living in Isleworth and going into Central London there was a billboard on the roundabout in Brentford for the Wembley Country & Western Festival and Hank Snow was coming! I went to the Festival but Hank Snow didn’t come! And nevertheless Loretta Lynn, George Hamilton IV… who is a very good friend up to this day… did come. That was the first one… Mervyn Conn was the promoter… after that they did them every year… came to Germany… came everywhere. But in those days there were no country music concerts and Mervyn Conn tried it and succeeded. He went to Nashville and said to all these major artists… and there were a lot of major artists… ‘I can’t pay you much money and I won’t make much money’. He certainly must have made money but on the other hand he gave everybody a chance to be in England. So if you take George Hamilton IV… George to this day is a household name in England. Every year I’m sure he’s probably there for a month or two. In those days he had a TV show from the Nashville Room which was on the Cromwell Road… right on the A4… and it did a lot of good. I started collecting again when I came back to Germany… you know… I didn’t have a job and I just started selling records. I was lucky because country music was on the upswing and, since I knew what I was doing, it happened it was a good way of doing it. And that’s how Bear Family started.” Richard Weize
Richard began to surround himself with like minded, some not quite so like minded, individuals starting with Hermann… “who’s the minister of finance at Bear Family”.
“I’ve been with Bear Family from the beginning… when I met Richard he lived in an old farmhouse out in the country. He didn’t have any money, he didn’t have any job and he was just sending out records he’d imported from the States to some friends. Richard’s not in real life! He lives in a different world… he’s in his collector mind and the realities of life are not Richard’s! So I took over the practical side… I repaired the car… I began fetching the records when they came from the States. I’d studied mathematics at university in Bremen and for me it was just fun. So when I finished my studies I didn’t know what to do… I didn’t want to go on with mathematics because I’d studied for eight years and I wanted to do something. I didn’t want to go into industry or insurance or something like that… so I just helped Richard in the beginning. And we began to organise something… it was a bit chaotic but it began like that. At this time we had no computers… nothing. Some years later we did get one of the first computers… my mathematics helped and I programmed our business… filling out the orders and everything.
Two years later we put out our first records… I think it was with Johnny Cash singing German songs. I still remember that the invoice we had for the pressing nearly killed us! It was something like twenty thousand German marks. We didn’t have the money so we had to borrow it… it was really difficult… but we continued and it was very successful and we began to work with the music industry getting licensed material for release. We had more and more interesting stuff and we started exporting to the States… started exporting to Great Britain. At that time every six weeks I went over to London with a bus load full of records. I remember some nights in Soho when I had a suitcase full of £50,000 in cash! In the night time! That was the beginnings. Once we became a little bit more professional things went up and up and up.” Hermann
However Richard’s recollections of the first Bear Family releases are slightly differently to those of Hermann… it’s a long time ago now.
“I am not sure anymore. It was either Bill Clifton or Carl T Sprague! Bill Clifton was reissues and Carl T Sprague was new recordings. He was a cowboy… I’m sure you haven’t heard of him… a cowboy singer. He did his first recording in 1924 ‘When The Work’s All Done This Fall’ and it was said… I’m sure it’s bullsh*t… it sold a million copies. In those days factories weren’t even able to produce a million records. But it was a very, very successful record and… at least… if it sold fifty thousand that would be many, many records in those days. They were vinyl albums. It was back in 1972 before Bear Family started fully fledged… the first CD that came out was in the early Eighties and I did my first CD… I believe… in ’82 or ’83. Just at the very beginning. It was very, very difficult and very, very expensive.” Richard Weize
The story of the struggle between art and commerce, of becoming ‘too’ commercial and ‘selling out’, is as old as musical manufacturing but, from the outset, Bear Family were never about music business cynicism… about product and the shifting of units. Music business… the clue is in the title… but you have to have the business for the music to get across. The story goes that The Beatles would never have made it were it not for Brian Epstein’s gentlemanly business acumen and his being able to persuade them to ditch the leather for suits and clean up their act. Andrew Loog Oldham then took the absolute opposite approach with the Rolling Stones and insisted that they dress down… not dress up… to be successful. Chris Blackwell’s astute marketing of The Wailers as ganja smoking revolutionaries… not reggae singers… enabled the group to shrug off that musical millstone and finally broke them on the international market. You can’t have one without the other but Bear Family are all about working at getting along within and without the business with a love and respect for the music, continually evolving and improving on every release.
“Major artists for which I did the first CD boxes like Johnny Cash… like Marty Robbins… like Hank Snow… and some of the others… the booklets are OK. They’re good but they could be better… Lefty Frizzell for example… but what I’m always unhappy about is all my favourite artists that I did in the early days and… if I could do them now… I could do a much better job on them. So an artist who is not so important gets a ten times better book than the ones in the early days. The point is at every stage I’ve always done the best I could… whatever that means… and it’s most certainly not the best that can be done Right? Over the years we’ve been much more perfect than I used to be in those days. Obviously you know more about it… you get better connections to pictures… you get better collectors as writers. So a lot of things are just better… and records and CDs that I release today are more timeless. Some of the older ones are kind of strange but again that is not the point! The point is that you always have to make sure you do the best you could… which I always did!” Richard Weize
And, in order to ensure that Bear Family releases not only sounded but also looked the best Richard began to employ designers who were in complete accord with his way of doing things.
“Well it couldn’t work with someone who hadn’t got a connection to the music. Sometimes they’ll call me and say we need an advertisement for this magazine… make something hillbilly! And you can’t do something with art deco or punk lettering. You have to know what they are talking about and where to get the parts to make it hillbilly. Then the difficulty comes when you send them something that you think is hillbilly and Richard says ‘No that’s honky tonk!’
But Bear Family have always considered their packages as something not only of musical value but also with information value… that you have a context for the music. Because they come from the collectors scene and they want everything they have accompanying the music so they have always calculated each project with a lot of information and a lot of booklet space.” Mychael Gerstenberger
Sometimes the work is a lot more difficult than defining the difference between hillbilly and honky tonk and the artists are often involved in all manner of behind the scenes juggling to get the desired authentic effect.
“I’m not the only designer. There are two or three main designers. I mainly do the big box sets and the books… from time to time the single CDs and the other designer does all the single CDs and CD format packages. Obviously I can’t change the concept that the writer… the audio researcher… the picture researcher… might have been working on for ten years. But sometimes I can give it a new twist… because the writer wasn’t aware that the picture researcher later came up with some brilliant photos!
When I retouch photographs the greatest challenge is to not look like a digital result so you try to avoid all the obvious photo-shop tools. Well… you use them but you use other tricks to make it look real! There were times when I restored an old photo from 1928 or something that looked like it had been in some cowboy’s backpack for twenty years or something. Parts missing and scratches… I retouched it… maybe two days work… and restored everything but it just looked too clean! So I took little scratches and distortions from the original and put them in on the edges so the whole thing looked like an old photo again… but like an old photo fresh from the photographers shop on Main Street. When you know how it’s been done it’s weird… but the end result looks wonderful.
My colleague Sven Uhrmann… he’s the master at this. Some of his booklets look like they’ve been stored in some attic for ages. He once made a CD sampler for The Browns, a country band from America, and one of the members, Maxine Brown, sold this Bear Family CD (‘The Three Bells’ BCD 15665) on her website and she wrote to Richard to say some of her customers sent the CD back because it looks used. Because it had some little scratches on the cover and a little dirt on the edge like some old worn book cover and they thought they had got a used CD… which to my mind is the highest praise for work like that!” Mychael Gerstenberger
So yes… the list is endless, the execution is faultless and the range of music available from Bear Family is all encompassing and comprehensively covers just about every musical genre and sub genre imaginable. A box set of Cliff Richard ‘On The Continent’ (BCD 15903) anyone? Or how about Lonnie Donegan’s ‘More Than ‘Pye In The Sky’ His Complete Recordings 1954 to 1966’ (BCD 15700)? But how many do they sell? And who do they sell to? These are not questions likely to elicit any easy answers. But they are not questions that are usually asked anyway. Bear Family is a very successful business running without ever having had a business plan and, if the man who’s supposed to be looking after the finances doesn’t approve, well… it doesn’t really matter anyway.
“You can’t do any business plans with Richard! Impossible… that would mean he would have to put his editions under control and he can’t control what he’s doing. He will never accept anything like that. If you’re doing a box set and you’re told it can cost 20,000 euros and no more… it’s impossible. Just not possible!
So sometimes you get really crazy product… for instance the box set with 170 versions of the song ‘Lili Marleen’ (‘the song that went around the world’) in one box set (BCD 16022)! You never can sell anything like that! We have made a lot of box sets of German artists… but you can’t sell German artists in box sets! At the moment Richard has a project on songs of the Spanish Civil War… which (whispers) you can’t sell either. And it’s cost a lot of money. So there is always a struggle between economics… which I represent… and the music making which is Richard.” Hermann
Bear Family is obviously driven by one man but it’s never been a one man band. Over the years Richard has worked with writers as distinguished as Bill Dahl, Hank Davis, Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins, eminent researchers including Nico Feuerbach, Stefan Kohne, Bill Millar and Victor Pearlin, mastering engineers such as Jürgen Crasser, Doug Pomeroy and Christian Zwarg and many others. Like attracts like and one enthusiast will always be able to find common ground with another. The language barrier precluded me from the finer points of much of what was going on in the meetings but there was an overall feeling that everyone’s opinion was valid and of importance. In many ways it was easier to pick that up from the tone and the body language as opposed to what was actually being said. Richard is very obviously in charge but not in an autocratic, didactic manner. He is his own most outspoken critic. The whole process of what was going on in the kitchen over the two days was very democratic and, after seeing it all in action, it didn’t seem to be difficult. The family members are all here to talk but they’re all here to hear too and Richard always appears to be more than willing to take on board what other people had to say.
“So if I’m working on something I double check things… and I double check things from other people as well. And people get really p*ssed off with me because they feel I should trust them. I don’t! It’s not distrust… I’m just double checking! And I’m double checking myself… so I’m in the same position as they are… or as I am with them… let’s put it that way. So it’s not different because I want to be perfect and trying to be perfect you reach 70% at the end of the day. But if you were to say ‘OK I’ll just do a good job’ then just work the regular way then you end up with 40% to 50%. And that’s the reason that Bear Family is better than others… just because I’m trying to be perfect. At the end of the day you probably know the saying ‘In the Country of the Blind the One-eyed Man is King’ and that’s what it comes down to. So it’s just a matter of personality and double checking. And as I said I’m controlling… probably five per cent I’ve done is sh*t… from the early days… reissues I shouldn’t have done knowing it from the day I started it… but the majority is not and all the projects I’m doing are all my babies. Whoever started it and whoever signs off for it… it’s always my baby. Nothing goes unnoticed by me. I’ll say ‘Well why didn’t you do this and why didn’t you do that?’ And I double check things and I repeat myself. But I’m still double checking… but sometimes it really slips. My mind…sometimes I’ll wake up at night and I’ll say ‘have you done that?’ and then I’ll make a note. Most of the time it has been done but in some cases not…” Richard Weize
And as the people brought up to collect, treasure and cherish records, books and compact discs grow older and run out of spending power (and power) are there any younger people stepping forward? Many of the assorted Bear Family members are young men and women and their love and knowledge of music and musical history is palpable. The tradition has been well established and looks like continuing for the foreseeable future.
“I think the market has changed… things that worked three, four, five years ago will not work today. It’s very interesting at the moment. But you know we’re not influenced by downloads or the internet and things like that. If you have box sets like the Everly Brothers (‘1957 to 1960’ BCD 15618, ‘1960 to 1965’ BCD 16511 and ‘1966 to 1972’ BCD 16791) if you just have the songs on MP3 you have nothing! With a box set you have all the information… you have a book… you have something in your hand. That’s what someone like you and me want to have. And that’s our advantage…” Hermann
Everyone I spoke to shared this love of music and a justifiable pride in the achievements of Bear Family as Detlev Hoegen, managing director, who is “definitely not a record collector!” explained.
“I don’t think that we are confronted with the general business problems like the major industry… like independent record companies who are depending on sales of touring artists and living artists… because Bear Family are not just doing CDs. We are operating the complete package from the box itself to the book with all the information, the liner notes, the pictures and to the music that’s contained on the discs… it’s not just the discs. This is something that’s separating us from the rest of the reissues because our consumers are expecting us to deliver something special… something that nobody else does. Meaning the box sets with the artist retrospectives… sometimes covering almost their entire career or one of those series that Richard is compiling.” Detlev Hoegen
Although Richard told me he felt that had now done everything that he wanted to do, apart from artists he was unable to obtain the licensing agreements for, it is highly unlikely that the Bear Family catalogue will not continue growing bigger and bigger.
“I can always do a lot of other things. There are some artists I would like to do but wouldn’t get a licence on. The record industry can do it themselves and other artists… even if I could get a licence… I wouldn’t be able to do it. Because at my age it would be too difficult to do it… there would be too much pain. For example if I could do Elvis… it’s impossible! I wouldn’t even dream of it. Artists like Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger… which I would like to do but there are so many difficulties… then on the other hand it would be getting too difficult to do. And I don’t know people who would work with me on it who would come up to my standards.
No actually… I would put out everything but there’s some stuff which I wouldn’t be comfortable with… for example… with classical… some other stuff if I didn’t get any help… Seventies, Eighties rock I really would need an expert on my side. Some of the punk stuff I wouldn’t feel comfortable with because I don’t know enough… but basically I will do everything as long as it makes sense to me. As I said I need an expert to come with it… however if the expert then turns out to be not an expert… just trying to fake it… or thinks he’s an expert then these things would sit for a while until I’m satisfied or until I’ve found another person.
You see people have different ideas of things and I have a certain standard. In some cases people talk me into things and say ‘You should do it’ and I do it because it’s an important artist. And there are a number of those and I say ‘OK’ and think they can do it… and I always end up in the same trap. Because when they do it I suddenly realise that they can’t! And then I’m taking over on something I’m not the least interested in. And then when the project is done I know more about that artist than anyone else and I really don’t want to know!” Richard Weize
But licensing agreements do not necessarily have to present a problem. Detlev explained that the music licensed to Bear Family is never signed exclusively and only covers their compilations. It’s a measure of the quality of their releases that, despite some of the material being available elsewhere, they still remain the first choice of discerning consumers.
“So when Richard is working on a compilation he lists all the tracks he would like to see included under the terms and conditions of the general agreement and my job… for example… for the forthcoming project on the Spanish Civil War is actually finding the licences! It’s like digging in the dust! It gets very complicated sometimes. For this project I was looking for contacts in Spain, Argentina and Chile… far beyond the horizon I’m usually working on.
But sometimes I run into people who don’t understand… especially musicians! They don’t understand what a licence is. They’ll say ‘What does this mean? Do I sell you everything?’ And I’ll say ‘No. I just want to have your permission to use this particular song for this particular compilation’. And they’ll say ‘But what does this mean? Do you then own the masters?’ And I’ll say ‘No… you keep all the rights… but for this particular reason we want to have this one song to be used on a compilation’. It can be very complicated because, really, people are very inexperienced. Sometimes you’ll never get a reply and, of course, that’s pretty frustrating when you can’t use the track.” Detlev Hoegen
So what does the future hold? As time goes by it gets increasingly difficult to understand where music, as a business, is going to go. However all at Bear Family are certain of their direction and Richard still has a long way to go!
“The future? I’m sixty seven… I have forty three years to go! That’s my future. I’ll continue until I drop dead. I’ve managed the first sixty seven years… I might as well be able to handle the next forty three. Retirement is not an option.” Richard Weize
“So I think there will be a market despite downloads and out of copyright and, you know, competition I think that the quality that the Bear Family is producing will justify continuing the label for as long as possible.” Detlev Hoegen
“And that’s the way it goes. I really feel I’m part of this historical aspect… to keep history alive… which I think is important and which others just don’t do because it’s not commercially viable or valuable.” Richard Weize
Bear Family gives us all hope for the future by returning to the roots. Not just the musical roots… I’m not necessarily thinking about expensive boxed sets… but about returning music to its rightful status as an enterprise run by people who love music for people who love music and love what they are doing. Bear Family is living proof that it can, and does, work. During my stay I thought at times that I’d passed on and was already in record collectors’ heaven…
With grateful and sincere thanks to: L-P Anderson, Mychael Gerstenberger, Roland Heinrich, Detlev Hoegen, Birgit Niels, Hartmut Onnen, Richard Weize, Stefan Kohne. Michael ‘Ohlly’ Ohlhoff & all at Bear Family Records
Richard Weize’s Top Bear Family Releases
The Female Elvis - Complete Recordings 1956 to 1960 (CD with 16 page booklet) - Janis Martin – BCD 15406
The Outtakes Plus (CD with 36 page booklet) – Janis Martin – BCD 16154
Come Along And Ride This Train (4 CD Box Set with 32 page book) – Johnny Cash – BCD 15536
The Man In Black Volume 1 1954 to 1958 (5 CD Box Set with 36 page book) - Johnny Cash – BCD 15517
The Man In Black Volume 2 1959 to 1962 (5 CD Box Set with 40 page book) - Johnny Cash – BCD 15562
The Man In Black Volume 3 1963 to 1969 (6 CD Box Set with 46 page book) - Johnny Cash – BCD 15588
The Outtakes (3 CD Box Set with 100 page booklet) - Johnny Cash – BCD 16325
She Thinks I Still Care - The Complete United Artists Recordings 1962 to 1964
(5 CD Box Set with 48 page book) – George Jones – BCD 16818
Walk Through This World With Me - The Complete Musicor Recordings 1965 to 1971 (Part 1)
(5 CD Box Set with 48 page book) – George Jones – BCD 16928
A Good Year For The Roses - The Complete Musicor Recordings 1965 to 1971 (Part 2)
(4 CD Box Set with 52 page book) – George Jones – BCD 16929
White Sox, Pink Lipstick and… Stupid Cupid – Her Complete Recordings 1955 to 1959
(5 CD Box Set with 40 page book) – Connie Francis – BCD 15616
Kissin’, Twistin’, Goin’ Where The Boys Are – Her Complete Recordings 1960 to 1962
(5 CD Box Set with 32 page book) – Connie Francis – BCD 15826
West Indian Rhythm – Trinidad Calypsos 1938 to 1940 (10 CD Box Set with 316 page hard back book)
– Various Artists – BCD 16623
Atomic Platters – Cold War Music From The Golden Age Of Homeland Security
(5 CD Box Set with DVD and 292 page hard back book) – Various Artists – BCD 16065
Next Stop Is Vietnam – The War On Record 1961 to 2008
(13 CD Box Set with 304 page hard back book) – Various Artists – BCD 16070
Blowing The Fuse – R&B Classics That Rocked The Juke Box (16 CD series covering 1945 to 1960 each with 72, 84 or 88 page accompanying booklet) – Various Artists – BCD 16700 to BCD 16715
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke And Hillbilly Music (16 CD series covering 1945 to 1960 each with 72 page accompanying booklet) – Various Artists – BCD 16950 to BCD 16965