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Box Sets

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Hank Ballard & the Midnighters
Nothing But Good 1952-1962
(Bear Family)

Everything this Detroit-based quintet cut for Federal and King during their golden decade, spread across five CDs! All their bawdy "Annie" songs, the original "The Twist" (and an earlier demo too), their smashes "Finger Poppin' Time" and "Let's Go, Let's Let's Go," and many obscure sides that haven't been available on CD before. Gorgeous hard-cover book includes tons of photos, a full discography, and my in-depth notes!
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The Complete Motown Singles
Vols. 1-12A 1959-1972


The entire history of Motown, beautifully presented in state-of-the-art packaging (complete with repro 45).

Each five or six-CD collection (12 so far!) contains A and B sides of every single released that particular year (1971 and 1972 were so prolific that they're split over two boxes apiece). I co-wrote the liner notes with British Motown historian Keith Hughes and Universal's Harry Weinger, co-producers of the series.

My Book

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“Most ‘Hitsville’ biographers confine their discussions to the label's stars, but in Motown: The Golden Years, Bill Dahl takes a more democratic approach, bringing to light lesser-known artists unjustly ignored in other works. The result is an entertaining book that also manages to break new ground.

...A sharp writer, Dahl fashions entries that are rich in detail and observation.”

Motown: The Golden Years
takes a vivid, entertaining look at the historic rise of Berry Gordy’s musical empire, paying loving tribute to the legendary artists and seminal recordings that made the Detroit record company’s cozy headquarters at 2648 W. Grand Blvd. live up to its vaunted billing as “Hitsville U.S.A.”

At 352 pages with more than 200 photos-including a 32-page color section featuring the amazing candid photos of former Motown promotion guru Weldon McDougal III, whose fascinating anecdotes are scattered strategically throughout the text-the 8.5 x 11 softcover book covers the careers of Motown superstars Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Martha & the Vandellas, the Marvelettes, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Junior Walker & the All Stars, Mary Wells, and Stevie Wonder. There are also comprehensive bios of the many other unforgettable vocalists who helped to create Motown’s far-reaching legacy from the label’s 1959 inception to its 1972 defection to Los Angeles: Edwin Starr, Jimmy Ruffin, Brenda Holloway, the Contours, the Velvelettes, the Andantes, the Originals, the Spinners, Barrett Strong, Kim Weston, and many more, including the groove-heavy Funk Brothers, Motown’s peerless house band, and several of the producers who shaped the almighty Motown sound. More than 50 Motown greats were interviewed in all, in all cases offering exciting first-person accounts of their fabled careers.

No wonder Gordy’s fabulous enterprise became the most successful black-owned independent label of the 1960s. These are the stars and music that shaped a generation!
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Record Labels for Which I've written notes:

Universal/Hip-O Select
Shout! Factory
Fuel 2000
Bear Family
Collectors' Choice Music
Concord Music
Great American Music
Blue Bella
Varese Sarabande
Empire Musicwerks
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Select Sampling of Single & Double CD Sets:

Buddy Holly, Down the Line Rarities (Universal)
Jerry Lee Lewis, Gold (Hip-O/Mercury)
Bo Diddley, Gold (Geffen/Universal)
Luther Ingram, If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right: The Best of Luther Ingram (Airline)
Barbara Lynn, The Jamie Singles Collection 1962-1965 (Jamie/Guyden)
Billie Holiday, The Definitive Collection (Verve)
Jimmy Smith, The Definitive Collection (Verve)
Fats Domino, Greatest Hits: Walking to New Orleans (Capitol/EMI)
Lloyd Price, Rocks (Bear Family)
Shirley & Lee, Rock (Bear Family)
Ruth Brown, The Definitive Soul Collection (Atlantic/Rhino)
Big Joe Turner, The Definitive Blues Collection (Atlantic/Rhino)
Dinah Washington, Gold (Verve)
The Persuaders, Thin Line Between Love and Hate/The Persuaders (Collectors' Choice Music)
Wilson Pickett, The Definitive Collection (Rhino)
Jackie Wilson, The Ultimate Jackie Wilson (Brunswick)
Little Willie John, The Early King Sessions (Ace)
Bill Haley & His Comets, Rock Around The Clock (Universal/Geffen)
Carl Perkins, Dance Album (Varese Sarabande)
Chuck Berry, Blues (MCA/Chess)
King Curtis, King of the Sax (Fuel 2000)
Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Space Guitar: The Essential Early Masters (Varese Sarabande)
Tyrone Davis, The Best of (Rhino)
Fats Domino, Blues Kingpins (Virgin/The Right Stuff)
B.B. King, Blues Kingpins (Virgin/The Right Stuff)
John Lee Hooker, Blues Kingpins (Virgin/The Right Stuff)
Lightnin' Hopkins, Blues Kingpins (Virgin/The Right Stuff)
Elmore James, Blues Kingpins (Virgin/The Right Stuff)
Ike Turner, Blues Kingpins (Virgin/The Right Stuff)
(Also compiled entire
Blues Kingpins series)
Howlin' Wolf, Moanin' at Midnight: The Memphis Recordings (Fuel 2000)
The Everly Brothers, The Essential Cadence Singles (Varese Sarabande)
Chuck Willis, Chuck Willis Wails! The Complete Recordings, 1951-1956 (Sundazed)
Bobby Patterson, Soul Is My Music! The Best of Bobby Patterson (Sundazed)
Bobby Darin, The Hit Singles Collection (Rhino)
Johnny Cash, The Essential Sun Singles (Varese Sarabande)
Bobby "Blue" Bland, The Anthology (MCA)
Roy Orbison, The Complete Sun Sessions (Varese Sarabande)
Ramsey Lewis, Ramsey Lewis's Finest Hour (Verve)
Magic Sam, The Essential Magic Sam–The Cobra and Chief Recordings 1957-1961 (Fuel 2000)
Joe Tex, 25 All-Time Greatest Hits (Varese Sarabande)
The Very Best of Major Lance (Epic/Legacy)
Albert King, Blues Masters: The Very Best of Albert King (Rhino)
Various Artists, Chess Blues Guitar: Two Decades of Killer Fretwork 1949 to 1969 (Chess)
Otis Redding, Dreams to Remember: The Anthology (Rhino)
The Delfonics, The Definitive Collection (Arista)  
Otis Clay, The Best of Otis Clay—The Hi Records Years (The Right Stuff/CEMA)
Syl Johnson The Best of Syl Johnson—The Hi Records Years (The Right Stuff/CEMA)   
Major Lance Everybody Loves A Good Time: The Best of Major Lance (Sony/Legacy)
Roy Head Treat Her Right: The Best of Roy Head (Varese Sarabande)
Buddy Guy The Very Best of Buddy Guy (Rhino)