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1. Fever for the Bayou
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2. The Ultimate Collection
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3. Damn Right, I've Got The Blues
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4. Nine Lives
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5. His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary
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6. Riding with the King
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7. Super Session
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8. His Best: 1947 to 1955
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9. Lightning in a Bottle
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10. Lie to Me
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11. Hoodoo Man Blues
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12. Long Time Coming
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13. Trouble Is
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14. In Session
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15. B.B. King - Greatest Hits
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16. His Best : The Chess 50th Anniversary
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17. Live at the Regal
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18. Down in the Basement: Joe Bussard's
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19. Paul Butterfield Blues Band
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20. The Sky Is Crying: The History

1. Fever for the Bayou
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Asin: B0007QJ1IO
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 700
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Houma homeboy Tab Benoit may have snuck up on some blues fans, but his status as the best and brightest of modern Louisiana bluesmen is now too obvious for any to ignore. His swamp-saturated sound and incisive Telecaster attack, also heard on the Whiskey Store and Whiskey Store Live dueling-guitar albums with Jimmy Thackery, easily personalizes classics, such as Elmore James's "I Can't Hold Out," featured here with saxist Jimmy Carpenter. But Benoit's at his best with the bayou beat. As on 2003's The Sea Saint Sessions, Benoit spotlights the musical heritage of New Orleans by using two guest vocalists who are Crescent City icons: Mardi Gras Indian "Big Chief" Monk Boudreaux and dynastic percussionist/vocalist/composer Cyrille Neville. Boudreaux vocally parades through "Golden Crown" at a fittingly funky Mardi Gras tempo, while Neville provides two songs: the percussion-embellished "Little Girl Blues" and the history lesson "The Blues Is Here to Stay," on which he vocally duets with Benoit between some of the album's best guitar work.

Buddy Guy's "I Smell a Rat" is the album's longest track as Benoit, beginning with a tasty intro, takes his most extended guitar workout, conjuring up a late-night blues club feel in the process. Benoit also contributes three originals, including the zydeco-tinged title track, an anthem of Cajun pride that serves him well as a signature song. Also his is the swamp stomper "Night Train," the album opener. At the other end is a surprise finale, a sublime front-porch, finger-picking acoustic rendition of "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It". --Michael Point ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Get The Fever
If you like Tab Benoit, The Blues or Cajun Spiced Music you will LOVE this CD.In fact, buy TWO--- one for yourself and one to impress your friends with your great taste in music!It is worth every cent.

4-0 out of 5 stars I like this.
I liked this cd from start to finish.It starts out with night train,a song that strangley reminds me of creedence.I also like the blues song i smell a rat.I think tab is one of the finest new blues guitar players today.Get this if your into the blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Possibly his best CD yet
Tab quickly became one of my favorite guitarists when I first heard him, and this new CD shows that he is still getting better.He is one of those all-too-rare musicians that can make you stop whatever else you might be doing and just listen."I Smell a Rat" is my favorite Buddy Guy song and I wasn't sure how Tab would do with it, but his version is excellent.Any blues fan should buy this immediately.

5-0 out of 5 stars Killer
His best CD yet...I've been playing it for several days now....Very few cd's make that cut. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues from the heart
This is great! You could start and finish your review with that simple statement. I always admired Mr. Benoit work, however from my point of view this has to be his best effort to date. This album is one of the best blues CD I have ever came across. Marvellous guitar playing and even better singing throughout the entire work. If you are looking for a true "blues" CD, a blues CD with the capital "B", played the way it meant to be, do not waste your time looking for more, you have found it. More than very highly recommended this is just an essential purchase for all the blues fan around the word. For sure one of the best release so far in 2005 and maybe one of the best ever. Just pick it up and you wont be disappointed. ... Read more


2. The Ultimate Collection
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Asin: B0007QJ1PM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1169
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

B.B. King's music has been anthologized and put in box sets many times, but this is the first single-disc collection that truly spans the American icon's career. It starts with his breakthrough 1951 No. 1 R&B hit "Three O'Clock Blues" and ends, chronologically, with 2000's "Ten Long Years" from his platinum-selling, pop-chart-topping smash collaboration with Eric Clapton, Riding with the King. In between there are 19 numbers that trace King's creative peaks (1969's "The Thrill is Gone," 1960's "Rock Me Baby") and valleys (1973's disco-inspired "I Like to Live the Love"). And they all tell the story of his growth as a performer. As the years and tunes tumble by, King's guitar solos become more expansive and adventurous, and his cross-genre experiments, like 1987's "When Love Come to Town" with U2, grow bolder. "I'll Survive," also featured here, has become King's late-career theme song, but as he heads toward his 80th birthday on September 16, 2005--still playing 150 concerts a year with his vastly influential guitar skills sharp and his voice just a bit weathered--King's version of survival contains genuine majesty. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars ****1/2 - the finest introduction yet
Finally - a really good single-disc compilation which doesn't exclude King's earliest (and best) material.
Much better than "Greatest Hits" and more affordable than various multi-disc compilations, "The Ultimate Collection" is the place to start for newcomers and curious listeners who want to know what Riley "B.B." King is all about.
"Three O'Clock Blues", "You Upset Me Baby", "Sweet Little Angel"...this is not everything you could ever want from B.B. KIng, but it is a very fine place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars B.B.King&Lucille are well served here
B.B.King is a Artist that is timeless to Me on so many levels. His music has always been a fixture in my life.relatives have played His work all through my life.those Great recordings He did with Bobby "Blue" Bland&His Solo Career."the thrill is Gone" is still One of the Freshest Jams Ever.B.B.'s Guitar Lucille has Served the Brother Proper over the years. you feel His spirit&Emotion in his Tone&Vocals as a Musican.this is a Must have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Single Disc Collection Hits Most of the Highlights
B.B. King is certainly the greatest living ambassador of the blues that we have and this latest anthology--released ahead of his eightieth birthday next September--is a well chosen collection of some of his best and best known songs.However, condensing a 50-plus-year recording career onto a single disc and calling it THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION borders on chutzpah.

However, give the compilers at Geffen Records their due. Through cross licensing they have been able to include some of his early RPM and Kent singles as well as his MCA material. [MCA has been B. B. King's home since the late sixties.] The set begins with his first No. 1 R&B single "Three O'Clock Blues" in 1951 and continues through with the most recent song "Ten Long Years" from 2000's collaboration with Eric Clapton, RIDING WITH THE KING.

Even at twenty-one tracks, there is much that had to be eliminated from this collection.Only the last four tracks represent King's post-seventies output. And over the past half dozen years alone, King has released some powerful albums, including 1999's tribute to the music of Louis Jordan LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL and 2003's collection of standards REFLECTIONS, neither of which is represented here.

What you do get though is classic B.B. King, including his 1964 crossover hit "Rock Me Baby," a couple tracks from1965's LIVE AT THE REGAL "Every Day I Have the Blues and "Sweet Little Angel," his signature song "The Thrill Is Gone" (which at No. 15 was his highest charting pop hit in 1970), and the 7" edit and mix of "When Love Comes to Town" with U2.

Overall, this is a satisfying collection and makes for a nice introduction to the music of B.B. King.If you want a broader overview, consider 2000's 2-disc anthology or 1992's box set KING OF THE BLUES

5-0 out of 5 stars The Thrill isn't gone after all...The King is back
B.B. plays what he feels in every single song. That's a rarity among all the young blues neophytes out there but the fact that he did from his very first recording says a lot about the man. From the very first chords of "Three O'Clock Blues" to the rock swagger of "When Come Comes To Town" (recorded and written by U2), B.B. energized every note, every word with meaning.

This isn't the best collection of B.B.'s music. For that you'd have to go to the boxed set "King of the Blues" which is now over a decade old. It's missing everything he's recorded since 1992 so isn't quite as complete as it could be either. As a single disc collection, though, you can't go wrong with this outstanding set. Yes, "The Thrill is Gone" also makes another appearence but because it'ssuch an important track (it broke B.B. to a wider audience and became his first crossover hit)it certainly deserves to be included. The extensive liner notes gives us a glimpse of B.B.'s life from the day he entered the world as Riley King the son of a sharecropper (something he himself did briefly as well). It's clear from even these early sides (the first four tracks)he didn't have blood flowing through his veins but the Mississippi Delta's rich water.

Focusing primarily on his singles (although there's a generous helping of album tracks as well), this collection could easily have been doubled or tripled in length (much as Bruce Springsteen's "Ultimate Collection" was). From the plainative fragment "Nobody Loves Me But My Mother" (with the sad but witty comment, ..and she could be jiving me") through to B.B.'s collaborations with U2 (the single is featured here with backing vocals that I don't seem to recall on the album version)and England's Mississippi Delta King Eric Clapton, this fine collection captures the King in fine form.

After this you'd do well to pick up the following classic albums; "Live at the Regal", "Lucille" (named after his beloved guitar), "Live in Cook County Jail" (one of his most powerful performances), "Indianola Mississippi Seeds". Dip your toes in the Mississippi Delta and you'll never regret it!

5-0 out of 5 stars The King
Hey, it's the king. This CD is all encompassing and superbly recorded. If you are new to B.B. King or just want to add to your collection, you will not be dissapointed. ... Read more


3. Damn Right, I've Got The Blues
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Asin: B0007VBF24
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2376
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

This guest-studded CD relaunched Buddy Guy's career and set him toward the pinnacle of contemporary blues. Despite turns from Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and others, it's Guy who burns brightest--and loudest. He delivers roaring, exuberant performances of classic R&B ("Mustang Sally"), old-time blues ("Black Night"), and house rockers ("Where Is the Next One Coming From"). Most poignant, though, is his seven-minute instrumental "Rememberin' Stevie," which not only rekindles the fiery spirit of his own youth, but pays sensitive tribute to his late friend and admirer Stevie Ray Vaughan. This is the blueprint for Guy's current performing style. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Where's Jeff Beck???
This is the expanded edition of what is already a classic blues album. All in all the expanded edition is OK. It was remastered by George Marino, who has remastered a lot of catalogs, most importantly the Led Zeppelin catalog. This edition sounds a little better than the old CD, but not that much. The two extra tracks are really outstanding. One is an instrumental jam where Buddy really lets loose and the other is a nice cover of Guitar Slim. No horns or big production, just Buddy and the band on these two. The big letdown: in 'Mustang Sally' Jeff Beck's contribution has been edited out completely!!! All the fills and his solo. Why, what happened???

5-0 out of 5 stars How About Ten Stars
Next to B. B. King, Buddy Guy is the greatest living bluesman, and this is his finest album. When he is on his game, as he is here, Guy is an absolutely astounding electric guitarist. Some of his solos suggest what Jimi Hendrix would have sounded like if he had lived past his twenties. But that is really beside the point. Guy doesn't need Hendrix comparisons to validate his work. Guy, who remains the epitome of Chicago blues, playsguitar with all of the vitality, sorrow, humour, passion, anger, pain, and transcendance that he can muster, and the end result is just marvelous, thrilling music. And there is not a throwaway song on the entire CD. If there is a better blues CD out there, I don't know what it could possibly be. This is a CD that will never age. ... Read more


4. Nine Lives
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Asin: B00080Z5S4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1869
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Album Description

Sacramento-based blues, swing and jump masters Little Charlie & The Nightcats have much in common with their feline counterparts. They take great (musical) leaps and always land on their feet, they’re constantly on the prowl (gigging all over the world), and, with all of the various styles of music they play, they seem to have many lives.Their new CD, NINE LIVES, is the ninth album of their remarkable career.

It’s been over 30 years since world-class musicians guitarist Little Charlie Baty and harmonicist/vocalist/songwriter Rick Estrin first teamed up and took hard Chicago blues, jump, Texas swing and jazz and mixed it with rockabilly, proto-rock’n’roll, jumping jive, bebop and Estrin’s sharply original lyrics, creating a sound one critic described as "Charlie Christian playing in Little Walter’s band." Their utter mastery of American roots music is fueled by Baty’s jaw-dropping guitar acrobatics and driven by Estrin’s captivating original songs, cutting vocals and brilliant harmonica playing. The new CD, NINE LIVES, features 13 original songs—including three smoking instrumentals—and showcases the band’s constantly growing repertoire and chops. ... Read more


5. His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)
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Asin: B000005KQM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1718
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Chester Burnett's ferocious growl was a staple of Chicago's electric-blues heyday. This 20-song compilation ranges from his 1951 debut "Moanin' at Midnight" with Willie Johnson on guitar to 1964's "Killing Floor" with Buddy Guy on guitar. His scratchy, sawed-off vocal approach and his energetic harmonica grace original classics such as "How Many More Years" and "Smokestack Lightnin'." By 1960, he became, along with Muddy Waters, the foremost interpreter of Willie Dixon's songs, lending his coarse voice to legendary Dixon cuts such as "Wang Dang Doodle," "Back Door Man," "Spoonful," "The Red Rooster," and "I Ain't Superstitious." Wolf's style was based on primal raw power, and he ranks among the genre's most distinctive performers. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (26)

5-0 out of 5 stars essential
Howlin' Wolf was already in his forties when he arrived in Chicago in the winter of 1953 and started recording for the Chess label. He quickly became Muddy Waters main and only rival on the city's club scene. With his six foot three, weighing well over 300 pounds, he had the stage presence of a mountain. Or perhaps a volcano is a better word, as he would regularly erupt, fall to his knees and howl at the moon. All his Chess recordings are essential listening for any serious blues lover, but if I had to pick one song to represent the Wolf in an anthology of the best American music from the 20th century, my choice would probably be Smokestack Lightnin'.

It's a simple song, just a few chords in a row actually, but it might be one of the greatest recordings ever recorded by a recording artist. I kid you not. Just as the Carmina Buruna belongs in the background of a classic, Freudian nightmare. Smokestack Lightnin' is the perfect soundtrack to a wild and sweaty one. It has a swampy feel bundled with images of trains and "little bittie boys". And the voice that sings it is just huge. I mean, the Wolf must have made the people around him feel like insects. It reminds me of the sound of a Harley, if you have the right pair of ears, you will only need to hear it once to remember it for the rest of your live.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best single-disc overview of an amazing career
If you're only ever going to buy one Howlin' Wolf-album (why? why would you want to to that?), this is the one to get.

Howlin' Wolf recorded some two hundred songs during his long career, and with room for 20 only, some hard choices must have been made by the compilers.
Chester Arthur Burnett, the Howlin' Wolf, stood about 6'4" and weighed close to three hundred pounds in his prime, and his huge, gravelly roar of a voice sounds positively frightening on early cuts like "Moanin' At Midnight" and the clanging, piano-driven boogie of "How Many More Years".

The songwriting credits are shared about equally by the omnipresent Willie Dixon, who plays bass on most of the cuts as well, and the Wolf himself, and "Hidden Charms" features perhaps the greatest guitar solo ever comitted to tape, courtesy of the hugely underestimated Hubert Sumlin, Wolf's right-hand man for more than twenty years.
Other highlights include "Forty-Four", "Smokestack Lightnin'", "The Red Rooster" and the phenomenal "Killing Floor", written by Howlin' Wolf, shamelessly stolen by Led Zeppelin and covered by several others, but never surpassed, and featured here in the ultimate version, sporting an incredibly catchy guitar riff by Hubert Sumlin, and Buddy Guy on acoustic rhythm guitar.

This CD is a corner stone in any serious blues collection, hard-rocking, bone-crunching electric blues, burning with the sheer ferocity of Chester Burnett's incredible voice. There was never anyone like the Wolf, and it doesn't seem likely that there will be.
Oh, and while you're at it, get "His Best vol. II" as well.

3-0 out of 5 stars His Best Chess
This CD was not what I was looking for. He played one item on the CD that was with the FULL sound, the others I didn't care for. I heard a song by him pertaining to a dope addict. I was told this was it - it was not. It was full and mesmerizing. Please recommend the CD I am looking for.

5-0 out of 5 stars A unique Voice In The History Of Music
Yes, a totally unique voice in the history of all music. There is no one that sounds like The Wolf. My tastes in music are primarily classical, but the voice and music of this hulk of a man taught me to appreciate the blues.

This is music that can grip you emotionally. The pure rawness of it can even be on the scary side sometimes. No analysis is needed, all you gotta do is listen! What a performer he must have been in person!

A required disc for blues lovers, and might I suggest for all music lovers. Every time I listen to his music, I marvel. Most highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Some of the Howlin' Growlin' Wolf's best.
This is a comprehensive collection of some of Howlin' Wolf's best music. The master of gravel voiced, gut bucket blues. A must have if you want to listen to Chicago electric blues....... ... Read more


6. Riding with the King
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Asin: B00004THAY
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 825
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

It sounds like the beginning of a story: "So, Slowhand and the King of the Blues were riding in a car ..." If this is a musical journey, it's the kind that rolls down long, empty stretches of country highway at 80 miles an hour, with the top down and the stereo blasting. Clapton and King may be more city than country, but this collection has the relaxed, laid-back feel that only comes from a pair of veterans doing what they do best. What they do here is cover 12 classic blues songs, many of them staples of King's repertoire, so the title of this album makes sense. Whether it's the rollicking rock & roll of the title track, or the acoustic shuffle of "Key to the Highway," or the sweet notes of "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer," a real sense of pleasure comes through on this album, the kind of pleasure one gets from jamming late at night with a good friend. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (325)

4-0 out of 5 stars A superb blues collection from two blues giants
"CLAPTON RULES!" As a huge Clapton fan, I say that a lot. After listening to his newest album, a collaboration with blues legend B.B. King, I'm considering changing that to "CLAPTON AND KING RULE!" Simply put, this is a very good blues album! The album opens with the kickin', blues-rock title track and the magic continues from there. One of my all-time favorite blues songs in particular, "Key to the Highway," makes an appearance on this album. This is a cool, laid-back, acoustic version of the song. (For the BEST version, though, check out the version on the 1970 classic "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" by Derek and the Dominos, which clocks in at over 9 minutes!) Another highlight is yet another laid-back, acoustic version of "Worried Life Blues." (Again, the BEST version can be found on Clapton's 1996 "Crossroads 2" 4-CD box set. For those who can't afford the set, it is also available on the 2-CD "Blues" collection, also by Clapton.) But not all the songs are re-done versions of my favorite Clapton tunes; "Help the Poor" can best be described as a "swampy" blues song, kind of like what you'd expect to hear out on the bayou. Excellent! But even at (6? 7?) minutes, it isn't long enough! For me, the album kind of peters out from tracks 9 thru 11 (hence, the 4-out-of-5-star review). While those songs ARE good, I think I need a little more time for them to grow on me. The album ends on a BEAUTIFUL note with the WAY too short "Come Rain or Come Shine." I was truly disappointed when it (and the album) ended! To sum, this is a very good blues album, released by two of the greatest blues-guitar legends. Clapton is a longtime "friend" of mine, but I hadn't really listened to much B.B. King. I think that's about to change as a result of this album. I hope you, the reviewer/listener make a new discovery or two as a result of listening to this jewel.

5-0 out of 5 stars Two Master Produce a Contemporary Blues Gem !
Ok, I'm a tad biased as I'm a huge Clapton fan (heck, he's still "god" in my book). The disc shows how to giants in the guitar world can show restraint and taste by sharing guitar and vocals. Clapton's tone is so sweet, pure strat and BB, well, he's the best at those short, jabs and staccoto licks. The playing is never over the top, which is a good thing, but adding the true bite or smooth emotion each song deserves. This album combines old blues gems like "Ten Long Years" & "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer", with Derek and the Dominoes "Key to the Highway" (done acoustic, a real treat) along with a few contemporary R&B covers penned by Doyle Bramhill II "Marry You" and "I Wanna Be" (Doyle also plays rhythm guitar on this disc...he's gotta be smiling !).

Texas blues great Jimmie Vaughan adds a few biting solos to "Help the Poor". The backing band is also very tight and some of the finest around...Andy F. Low (guitars, EC's sideman) Nathan East (bass), Steve Gadd (drums), Joe Sample (piano) and Tim Carmon (B3 Organ.

The overall feel of this is "good time" blues, bouncing rhythms and the two blues guitar masters having fun. It's not the heavy sound of EC's "From the Cradle", but more like BB's "Blues on the Bayou".

A great cd that will no doubt win a Grammy and delight millions of blues fans (not to mention guitar players, like me).

Super summer driving tunes like the title track or "Marry You" will have their melodies locked into you head for days.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not the second coming, but a nice listen while it lasts
This album opens with a great rendition of John Hiatt's 1983 rocker "Riding With The King", which has very little to do with blues, but who cares...B.B. King is entitled to a bit of a break now and again, I suppose!

There is a lot of genuine blues here as well, however, and the eight-minute "Three O'Clock Blues" burns with long and (usually) excellent guitar solos from both men. Other highlights include a good rendition of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway", a song which Clapton has recorded again and again for over 30 years, a nice, acoustic "Worried Life Blues", a seven-minute version of King's own "When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer", and the best song on the album, a delightfully swinging "Help The Poor", Charles Singleton's 60s classic.

There are some clunkers here..."Marry You" and "I Wanna Be" are a couple of bland, repetitive dime-a-dozen rock songs, and the novelty-like "Days Of Old" isn't destined for classic-status either, but most of the album works really well, although a whole handful of weak songs are too many.
It's not the grittiest blues record I've ever heard (or the bluesiest), but it's a nice listen while it lasts.
3 3/4 stars. Good enough.

4-0 out of 5 stars Riding with the King (...and his grovelling apprentice)
Hmm, so big anticipation for this record and it lived up to it, i guess. It starts strong with Riding with the King, and immediately shows who's in charge here - BB's in control. For Clapton this is a chance for direct comparison to his hero. Listening you get the impression that he's going all out to impress but even on BB's average days he'd still lose.

Nevertheless, there are some outstanding blues on this album. The Big Bill Broonzy favourite, Key to the Highway, previously covered by both men, shows a rare acoustic treat on BB's behalf and seems to be a favourite with previous reviewers. The seven minute reworking on 3'o clock Blues is awesome as well; it features some great BB vocals and delicate guitar work by both men. My favourite track however is Days of Old. An up tempo Chicago blues, it shows a comfort between the two that perhaps is lacking on some of the slower tunes where Clapton flags.

Low lights are Help the Poor (see BB's Live at the Regal for a better version) and I Wanna Be which doesn't really seem to fit in with the blues genre. Overall, had Clapton not been quite so in awe of his recording partner here a better effect would have been acheived (even his liner notes seem rather incoherent compared to B's.) Having said this, for an introduction to the blues and BB King for fans of Clapton's rock legacy, this album is a good place to start. It shows what the two legends love to do and despite weak moments it is genuine and proves that Pop Idol is not the be all and end all of 21st century music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspired music from two Greats
Okay. I have just purchased the new Eric Clapton's CD called Me and Mr. Johson. And boy, did I dislike that CD for its lack of inspiration.

I wrote a review of it. Gave it a 3 star.

Then I got to thinking... when has EC made some decent music in the past ten or so years? Well one recording is THIS ONE.

This recording has passion, great singing, and some fantastic interplay between two guitar players.

I totally enjoy every song, and perhaps the presence of BB KING EC found that he must be on good, inspired behavior since he does not sleep walk through this recording like he seemingly did on some others.

Another great recording to grab onto, From The Cradle. Perhaps the best EC release in 20 years. ... Read more


7. Super Session
list price: $11.98
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Asin: B00008QSA5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5775
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars jammin'
My brother brought home a vinyl copy of 1968's 'Super Session' sometime around 1969, and the presence of one performer caught my eye. I was already overindulging myself on the debut Crosby, Stills and Nash album, and had taken special notice of Stephen Stills contributions, especially his exquisite guitar work. After the first play through, I never heard the first 5 tracks of 'Super Session' again... I played side two over and over until the needle had worn clean through side one! Well, I'm kidding of course, but the point is that this 15 year-old was much too young for the cutting edge blues-rock being composed and performed by Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield on side one, but primed and ready for the country and psychedelic rock being offered up by Stills and Kooper on side two.

Hearing this album (remastered) for the first time in about thirty years was a real treat. I still prefer side two, but did a jaw drop over Bloomfield's stunning blues guitar solo's on the first five tracks, and on two of the bonus tracks ('Blues For Nothing' and 'Fat Grey Cloud', the latter recorded live at the Fillmore West). On the downside, Bloomfield was so strung out on heroin that Kooper couldn't keep him around for more than one night of recording. On the upside, certainly no artist can sing or play the blues better than someone living the blues, and this recording proves the blues was Bloomfield's lot in life. Heroin claimed him for good in 1981.

With only half an album in tow, Kooper turned to Stills, orphaned from the recently disbanded Buffalo Springfield, to complete this most unusual endeavor. Stylistically Stills and Bloomfield have radically different approaches. On the opening cut of side two, Stills layers a country-fied guitar over Bob Dylans 'It Takes a Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry', and follows this with his trademark wah-pedal guitar on an 11-minute version of Donovan Lietch's 'Season of the Witch'. My favorite song on the album follows with Stills and Kooper producing a psychedelic cover of 'You Don't Love Me'. Oddly, though Kooper is the only artist featured on all the cuts, the work is clearly owned primarily by Bloomfield, and secondarily by Stills. Kooper's most notable contributions are songwriting (one solo, and three with Bloomfield), and all the vocals (5 cuts). But the vocals are incidental, to say the least.

There are several odd selections on 'Super Session'. The third cut, 'Man's Temptation' is a soul number penned by Curtis Mayfield. It's a pleasant listen, though quite sexist by our standards today, and out of place among the heavy blues orientation of the other Bloomfield cuts. Track four, 'His Holy Modal Majesty' is a dreadful cut, with Kooper playing an electric piano called an ondioline, which comes across as electric bagpipes, and it's every bit as bad as that sounds. At 9 minutes in length, it is a clear waste of vinyl. The other odd number is the lush 'Harvey's Tune', penned by Harvey Brooks who played bass on the 'Super Session' sessions. Brooks and Barry Goldberg, who plays electric piano on the first two tracks, had been bandmates of Bloomfield's in the band Electric Flag, which also featured drummer Buddy Miles. The tune again sounds out of place, and Still's guitar is nowhere to be found.

The bonus tracks are valuable on this disc, to hear more of Bloomfield's playing, and to hear both Stills and Bloomfield's guitar work without the distraction of the brassy overdubs. These artists have abundant skills that deserve to be displayed, not dressed up, or God forbid, hidden. In the liner notes Kooper talks about his perception that the 'naked' tracks were "dynamically impaired", hence the original decision to 'enhance' them. Despite his perception, this seems to me to be a clear case of less being more.

So while you may be hitting the 'skip' button once or twice while taking in this CD, there is a great deal of unique and wonderful late-1960's music to be had on this, the first and perhaps greatest 'jam session'.

2-0 out of 5 stars What is so Super?
The answer is Mike Bloomfield of course(star #1). He does lay down some of the finest blues guitar I've ever heard anyone play--black or white on this (Albert's Shuffele 5 stars). Also, if you are a bassist--you have to check out Harvey Brook's playing on this--unreal, creative stuff(Star #2). So yeh, he and Bloomfield are the musical Ubermench here...but the contributions of Kooper and Stills are just pathetic...suffer through an anemic Season of the Witch and you'll know what I mean..the only interesting thing on this cut is the bass. Kooper is no singer..nore is he that outstanding as a keyboard player. The extra cuts scans horns don't add anythig other than to point out how bad they are without them. This was hardly a Super Session..really..Bloomfield by this time was a sick, strung-out heroin addict..and left Kooper in a learch after recording 5 cuts allbeit 2 career toppers. So Kooper flounders around and comes up with Stills to record a few forgetable tracks and wella the fabled SS album. There isn't a track where the three of them are jamming together. Anyway...if you really dig Bloomfield it's worth it to get Albert's Shuffel..but the rest is dated drivle.

5-0 out of 5 stars 4 IN A HALF STARS!
This is great stuff man. i'm really into blues-rock stuff like BLUES IMAGE, or ALLMAN BROS. BAND. This is great blues. good guitar. good organ. good vibe. rock. mike bloomfield plays a great guitar, and stephen stills fills in great on guitar and vocals. al kooper is classic. fantastic! rock it, in the pocket buddy!

3-0 out of 5 stars super!? yes but...
i agree with boogaloo jeffs review,especially the last line... GET "my labors" {nick gravenites/mike bloomfield} this album no doubt highlights mr. bloomfields guitar work better than any other....hands down. there are a few lame studio tracks by nick alone but the other half of the record is some of the best 60s white boy blues ever recorded... along with fleetwood mac, that you will ever hear! just do it, buy it!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Super Session
If you like the real Blues rhythm, if you like hearing great musicians playing it, and if you love music, then there is no doubt! This is the album you have to own!
Al KOOPER, Stephen STILLS and Michael BLOOMFILED made an outstandin' job in just two days of recordings. They used every great element there is in Blues music, which can be found in BB King's music and in other blues legends.
This is a five star album, five-star music, five-star producing, five-star work and five-star musicians. ... Read more


8. His Best: 1947 to 1955
list price: $18.98
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Asin: B000005KQH
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1250
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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One of the best recordings in Chess Records' 50th Anniverary series is the first of two bookend Muddy Waters collections, His Best 1947-55. Documenting Waters's most creatively and commercially successful years at Aristocrat/Chess, this CD begins with his formative years and ends with Waters at his peak. So you're in for a lot of terrific bottleneck slide guitar work as well as electric Chicago blues. What's to criticize? Superb remasterings of "I Can't Be Satisfied," "Rollin' and Tumblin'," "I'm Ready," and "Mannish Boy" are simply beyond reproach. With simple bass accompaniment from Ernest "Big" Crawford, Waters's bottleneck tracks are spare, haunting and, quite frankly, perfect country blues. And listening to Waters, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, and Jimmy Rogers piece together (and perfect very quickly) the classic Chicago sound is pure blues epiphany. At the very least, this collection shows you why Waters's rollicking stop-time classics like "Mannish Boy" and "I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man" have sparked endless imitations over the years--and why nobody has played them better since. --Ken Hohman ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL EVEN FOR NON BLUES LOVER
These are the songs that the BRITISH INVASION groups played to death in the sixties;here's your chance to hear the originals in this wonderful collection.In fact to be frank,this can be the only blues record you ever need when your friends want to hear that kind of music.Just for the record ,let's enumerate which songs were recorded by the likes of THE ROLLING STONES(I CAN'T BE SATISFIED,I JUST WANT TO MAKE LOVE TO YOU,MANNISH BOY);CREAM(ROLLIN AND TUMBLIN,I'M READY)and THEM(BABY PLEASE DON'T GO)and this is only a partial list.MUDDY WATERS was more than anybody else the best performer of the CHICAGO blues.If you like it, you can go with the follow up which completes this anthology perfectly.

5-0 out of 5 stars this is the one !
I was looking for the definitive Muddy Waters CD, and I found it here. The best songs from his best period with the best musicians. To me this is a CD that will always be heard. All 20 songs are masterpieces but I could single out "I'm Ready", "Mannish Boy", "can't be Satisfied" for their outstanding quality. Little Walter was an amazing Harmonica player who was at his best playing with Muddy Waters. His piercing solos gives the music here an edge I found nowhere else. The sound is very good, and the number of song (20) lets you enjoy the music thoroughly without being abraptly cut. This is a CD for the "deserted island" list.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues from heaven
This album blew my mind and is essential listening for any lover of blues, rock or any form of music(interested listeners are requested to also check out Howlin' Wolf 'His Best' CD issued simultaneously by Chess Records).

Nearly 50 odd years later the music sounds as fresh as yesterday. If this isn't where all the rock maestros of later years got their sonic ideas, it should have been.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Classic Music
These are the seminal years of the second, the electric wave of Chicago Blues. Muddy Water's collaborations, especially with Willie Dixon here, created the modern Chicago blues which replaced the older acoustic style represented best by Tampa Red and Big Maceo, and by Lil Hardin Armstrong and Lonnie Johnson collaboration.
The older smaller tighter, more person (and it is hard to talk about anything more personal than even the least well prepared Muddy sides),blues. The performances are breathtaking in their strength. You know this man, and you know more about yourself after you hear this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent compilation
"Excellent compilation", eh? So why only four stars?
Well, the track selection is really good, bringing together almost all the best of Muddy Waters' rough, muscular blues. Or rather, the best of 1947-55, which is why this is "only" a four star-compilation: It's not a career spanning retrospective, and it doesn't work all that well on its own.

But get this CD along with its companion volume, "His Best: 1956-1964", which also features 20 tracks, and you'll have a really fine career overview, second only to the three-disc "Chess Box" set (and perhaps the 50-track "The Anthology: 1947-1972").

This CD only has one significant flaw: A production error means than a sloppy alternate take of "Hoochie Coochie Man" is included instead of the master. Otherwise, it's just about as fine a compilation as you could wish for, including Muddy's first single, the slashing acoustic slide guitar blues "I Can't Be Satisfied", and tough, electric Chicago classics like "Honey Bee", "I'm Ready", "Trouble No More", and "I Just Want To Make Love To You".
Just remember that this isn't the definitive word on Muddy Waters - he made superb songs after 1955 as well. ... Read more


9. Lightning in a Bottle
list price: $19.98
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Asin: B0002YCVH4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1313
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This soundtrack to the movie features an astonishing array of blues artists from three generations. Recorded during one long night at NYC's Radio City Music Hall on Feb. 7, 2003, the electricity is in the air and on stage. While it may not have been the finest blues show in history, the collection of founding fathers such as David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Buddy Guy, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Larry Johnson, Hubert Sumlin, Solomon Burke, and the ubiquitous B.B. King along with their spiritual offspring (Gregg Allman, John Fogerty, and Steven Tyler) and some usual suspects like Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, andKeb' Mo', makes it arguably the most significant blues session ever captured on film.

Beginning acoustic, the double disc builds momentum and volume as we hear the blues mutate to electric and finally hip-hop with Chuck D. exploding on a rap version of John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom." The crackling house band led by drummer Steve Jordan provides foundation for gritty, roof-raising pieces like the unusual collaboration between former New York Doll David Johansen and guitarist Sumlin on Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor." Not all of the film's music is included but there are enough magnificent performances for established blues fans and to entice those first experiencing the genre's abundant riches. --Hal Horowitz ... Read more


10. Lie to Me
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Asin: B000002G6A
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2578
Average Customer Review: 4.49 out of 5 stars
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Jonny Lang cut his debut album in Memphis when he was just 15, and, upon its release in 1996, the guitar prodigy from Minneapolis instantly became one of the leading lights of modern blues. He's a fast and flashy player whose approach rests equally on technical assurance and musical intelligence. Sizing up a dozen songs, he gets a pleasing, razor-sharp sound out of his ax while building excitement in his lead lines--thankfully, he steers clear of cliché and bombast. As a fledging singer, he acts out the lyrics of Ike Turner's age-old shuffle "Matchbox" and his own romantic ballad "Missing Your Love" with surprising poise and believability. Kudos to producer David Z for surrounding Lang with alert, first-rate sidemen and for helping select good material from Turner, Sonny Boy Williamson, Tinsley Ellis, and others. --Frank-John Hadley ... Read more

Reviews (120)

4-0 out of 5 stars Jonny "Lie To Me" Anytime
When I first heard this CD I could not believe that it was a 15 yr old singing and playing guitar. Jonny's voice and guitar playing is amazing. The CD is great! The more you listen, the more you like. With a mix of songs like "Lie to Me" and "Hit the Ground Running" which are blues based rock songs, to "I Wonder" and "When I Come To You" where you can feel the emotion in his voice. It's amazing to think that this kid could even understand that kind of emotion at his age. Jonny Lang has made me a believer that "age means nothing" when it comes to the blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars What does age have to do with it anyway?
I recently read through all the reviews, both editorial and customer, and offer the following thoughts. First of all, anyone who believes this kid lacks talent, either as a guitarist or a vocalist, is simply living in an alternate reality. As I read the negative reviews, what came through loud and clear was jealousy. How dare a mere "kid" try to be good?......Well, guess what?.....He is.... The kind of raw power Jonny demonstrates at the tender age of 16 on "Lie To Me" is nothing short of truly amazing. And while it is certainly true that you can hear the influences of bluesmen like Albert King, Albert Collins, and Luther Allison (I don't hear much Stevie) on "Lie To Me", it is also true that his own unique style is emerging. This is most noticable on the tracks, Missing Your Love and When I Come To You. His follow-up release "Wander This World", reaches down into the soul and literally drags the listener through an emotional rolley coaster ride. For the record, he plays a telecaster, not a Strat, a totally different sound. And would everyone PLEASE get off of this thing about his age! For God's sake,...who cares? Everybody's gotta start somewhere. Talent is talent, and the fact that he is so young only makes him that much more special. Think about where he will go with his music in the next 20 or 30 years....... Way to go Jonny! You will be in San Antonio on January 19 at the Majestic Theater, and I can't wait!

5-0 out of 5 stars He's the Real Thing
This kid is the real deal. A natural talent if there ever was one. The maturity in this album is amazing, since it was recorded when he was only 15-16! Are his guitar solos melodic and well phrased? You bet. Some very nice work in that regard. But for me, the real magic of Jonny is those vocals - tortured, rich, raw, real and - dare I say it? - SEXY. His voice as an instrument is a very sensual sound. I love the blues - but I ADORE the sound of this kid's voice. If I had to take one album to a deserted island, this might be it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hey Jonny Lang... please do a dvd?
Just hoping my wish will come to reality.... check the reviews, beg borrow or steal a copy of this cd.... it's awsome..... I'd love to see Mr. Lang do a dvd. Being a father of two very young kids, I don't have the time to breath, yet alone see him in concert..... A dvd would surely be appreciated by more than just myself..... anybody reading this, and agree that the man should do a dvd, please find a way to let Mr. Lang know.

4-0 out of 5 stars Jonny Lang
Lany is a master 6 string player no doubt. This recording documents the facts. His voice is young and his age leads one to wonder if he has had time to feel that pain. Jonny Lang and the Big Bang is a much better compliation of his abilities. ... Read more


11. Hoodoo Man Blues
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000004BI9
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2337
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest Blues Album Ever?
Junior Wells isn't my personal favorite as a harpist (Sonny Boy is), but this album is one of my absolute favorites in the blooze. This album is really HOT, with Junior struttin' his stuff with his mates from Chicago, including the one & only Buddy Guy. Buddy really gels with Wells on this album, not by taking solos, but by accompanying him & the actual song being played. His presence really steps up Junior, & brings out the best in him here.

While Junior is a terrific blues harpist & singer, he has a real funky style that resembles James Brown. You can really hear it from the get go in "Snatch back & Hold It". The cover of "You Don't Love Me" from this album will influence a bunch of guys in Macon, GA. a few years later.

I believe this was also one of the earliest "full" blues albums released, rather than a collection of singles from vinyl. Hence, the greatest blues "album" ever recorded. Yes, that is my personal opinion, but the Chicago blues rarely gets better than this. Essential for any blues collection!

5-0 out of 5 stars Junior Wells' Showcase
I have been hearing about this album for 20 years, but only got it recently. So naturally I compare it with what I have listened to in the past 20 years.
Earlier Wells albums featured a larger group - with horns, piano etc... The sound was heavy and I loved it. This CD has Wells, Buddy Guy on guitar, plus bass and drums. The sound is lighter, and the band goes for jumping, funky kind of blues. Wells' harmonica gets much more room here than it did before.
As a Chicago harpist, I rate Wells second only to Little Walter, but Wells is a better singer ! Wells is a great singer and performer, and deserves the showcase this CD affords him. He was young and fresh, and felt like jumping much more than laying back. As a result, the best tracks are the fast ones - Chilli Con Carne, Snatch It Back etc...
I love Buddy Guy's playing on the CD - he lets Wells have the main stage, and behaves like a true friend and musician - thinking only about the overall result.
To conclude - this is a great blues CD, worth having to any blues fan.

5-0 out of 5 stars As good as an album can be.
Listening to this album with the lights out puts me "there" more than just about any album I've heard. In a smoky room where musicians and audience are connected. This album is real.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest
In case there's any confusion, this isn't just the greatest blues album of all time, this is the greatest album of all time. Don't doubt it. It's perfect. As good as it will ever get.

5-0 out of 5 stars must have blues album
The greatest blues album ever recorded.. A must have!
B.B. King at the Regal has nothin on this, a classic. ... Read more


12. Long Time Coming
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B0000AXHUM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3485
Average Customer Review: 3.19 out of 5 stars
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"Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, never thought it’d take so long," moans Jonny Lang on the seemingly autobiographical title track to his first release in five years. But its stark acoustic, near demo quality is in contrast to the preceding 12 songs, which are buffed to an arena-rock sheen. The youngster has shifted from an up-and-coming bluesman into a tough, journeyman melodic rocker with a dab of R&B. He has also honed his songwriting skills, resulting in the majority of this album (except a rugged bonus live cover of Stevie Wonder’s "Livin’ for the City" and the first single "Red Light") being self-penned. Aiming for the back rows, Long Time Coming boasts booming, sing-along mid-tempo choruses in "Save Yourself" and "Goodbye Letter," perfect for the lighter-waving crowd. He has also transformed into a soulman of sorts, evidenced by the Prince/ Michael McDonald influences on "Touch," "Beautiful One," "The One I Got," and the funky "If We Try." Once a burgeoning guitar hero, Lang’s solos are now integrated into the material, further bolstering the hard rock/soul approach. Leaving the blues, Lang has moved towards the mainstream on his most polished and radio-ready album yet. --Hal Horowitz ... Read more

Reviews (246)

4-0 out of 5 stars Jonny Lang's Coming of Age
I still think this guy's just a kid, but lose that thought quickly when I listen to him sing. I enjoyed his earlier stuff, but this album displays him as a true musician, not just a kid with a manly singing voice. The whole album is excellent, but a couple of tracks stick in your head and make you want to press repeat over and over again. "Red Light" immediately grabs a hold of you as the 2nd track. He didn't write it, but puts enough soul into it to make you think he did. I heard the song on XM radio a week before release, and after hearing it once,I had to buy the album, so that I could hear it again. The title track is a tune that makes you think of older blues superheroes. (Too many come to mind to even start listing them) The best lyrics on the album are in the song "Dying to live". Creative and catchy, with an R&B feel, definitely one of the best tracks on the album. All in all, the album was definitely worth the 9.99 that i spent on it, and definitely worth the time that I spent listening through it. Jonny Lang is no longer a boy playing the blues, he's a man making great music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Different but still awesome!!
I was messing around on CDNOW and saw that this CD only had an average rating of 3 stars and proceeded to read some of the reviews and was astonished to say the least.

No, this is not the typical "blues-rock raspy-voice" Jonny Lang album that we're all used to but it's still awesome! It's great the he can step outside of that and experiment a little and still create an amazing album. We already know Jonny can play the guitar but this album even further displays how talented he is as a singer as well.

Props to Jonny for trying something different and being able to be so versatile. This is one of the best albums of the year, there's not a song that you will want to skip over! Go out and buy it!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great CD
Best CD I ever bought. I thought I loved Jonny before, well he made me love him even more with this CD. Others may think he's gone bad, but just because he isn't exactly the same as he has been does not mean it's a bad thing. I fell in love with this CD before I even bought it and when I found out that Jonny became a Christian before making this album it made it that much better for me. Jonny showed some changes in his life in a subtle way and I loved it!

5-0 out of 5 stars An Old Soul with a Unique Voice
I love this album. Lang's voice is like none other I've ever heard. At once raw, anguished, and beautiful, it would draw you in if he was singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Instead, he sings some lovely and fresh songs. My personal favorites are the powerful "Dying to Live" and the reflective "Red Light." I recommend this album to someone who likes a bluesy, soul sound and is looking for something different from everyday radio singers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great songs - great ballads
I think all of the songs are high quality. My recommendation is to copy all of the torch ballads (tracks 1,5,6,8,10,12). Light some candles and fetch your partner for some very romantic slow dances. You never know what might happen later! ... Read more


13. Trouble Is
list price: $13.98
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Asin: B000002L5I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2930
Average Customer Review: 4.13 out of 5 stars
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It's not hard to understand the appeal of Kenny Wayne Shepherd, currently being hailed as the heir to Stevie Ray Vaughan. He's young (an increasing rarity in blues and blues-related genres), he writes catchy songs, and his "Blue on Black" is widely played on rock radio. Trouble Is . . . is an enjoyable listen, from rockers like "Slow Ride" and "Chase the Rainbow," to swingy mid-tempo songs like "True Lies" and "(Long) Gone," to slower almost-ballads such as "Nothing to Do with Love" and the all-pervasive "Blue on Black". Expect to start hearing "I Found Love (When I Found You)" at high school proms and homecoming dances. It remains to be seen how Shepherd will develop, but he's among the most promising young guitarists out there today. -- Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (78)

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but the Trouble Is......
Kenny Wayne Shepherd is a great guitarist, no doubt, and that's ultimately the appeal of his music. If you do not like guitar-based music, you'd do well to stay away from this CD. It's basically only for fans of guitar-heavy blues rock. On that level, it's a success. The songs are adequate, but mostly forgettable, and serve as little more than a backdrop for Shepherd's guitar. The lyrics are sometimes painfully derivative, and pretty uninteresting overall. However, the music is so good that the lyrics hardly matter. Vocalist Noah Hunt has a good voice, and sings with conviction but the words he sings just seem to be empty words. The songs about love and women just seem kind of phony coming from such young guys.

The best songs are Slow Ride, Blue On Black (a rock radio favorite), Chase The Rainbow and Somehow, Somewhere, Someway. The Hendrix cover I Don't Live Today is also fun.

Trouble Is... is a fine album for fans of blues-rock. If you like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter and other bluesy guitarists, then I would recommend this CD as well as Kenny Wayne's debut, Ledbetter Heights.

3-0 out of 5 stars It starts out great but...
Trouble Is... is the followup to Kenny Wayne Shepherd's killer debut Ledbetter Heights. While the band clearly sounds tighter and Shepherd's playing continues to impress, several tracks from the album's second half are mediocre, making it an uneven followup.

The first seven tracks on this album are all top notch whether it's the blues of "(Long) Gone" and "Somehow, Somewhere, Someway", the driving rock of "Slow Ride", the boogie of "True Lies", or the excellent hit single "Blue On Black". The versions of Jimi Hendrix's "I Don't Live Today" and Bob Dylan's "Everything Is Broken" are also excellent, with the band truly making the Dylan track their own.

Then the album starts to drag with the bluesy "King's Highway" and the closing instrumental title track being the only decent tracks. The remaining tracks "I Found Love (When I Found You)", "Nothing To Do With Love", and "Chase The Rainbow" are unmemorable and lack a strong hook. If you removed these tracks, you can argue that it's as strong as Ledbetter Heights. Still it's worth checking out for tracks 1-7.

4-0 out of 5 stars A true talent! Unbelievable!!
It is so great to hear a talent like this is rising through the scene. He is so young and so talented! Love the sound. If you get a chance to see him live don't walk....RUN!!! I saw SRV twice and this guy's fingers burn on that guitar. Keep up the great work Kenny Wayne. We need your music!!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Next Best Young Guitarist
Kenny Wayne Shepherd is without a doubt a great guitarist with alot of potenital, but he copies Stevie Ray Vaughan too much. I think he is the next best young guitarist out their proving his skills with the debut album Trouble Is. He is a great blues guitarist with a style of both himself, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. I will not knock him down for having influences such as Jimi Hendrix, and Steive Ray Vaughan I think every guitarist should carry on the guitar trait but I dont agree with copying anybody's style. This album is full of blues/rock including songs such as (Long Gone), hendrix's cover I Dont Live Today, and True Lies. This album will soothe any guitarist weither you like Hendrix, or Steive Ray Vaughan this one is most defiently for you. The only reason I gave this a 4 is because his copying of Steive Ray Vaughan other than that he is the next best guitarist. My favorite song on the album is Somehow,Somewhere,Someway. Other than that go buy this album and enjoy. Highly Recomened!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not bad, i've enjoyed it
I really liked the album, I understand all the critizm for sounding to much like SRV. But it does have its strong points.
The guitar is amazing, wonderful rock and blues. I love Slow Ride, True Lies, and Blue On Black. But, it has all been heard before. ... Read more


14. In Session
list price: $17.98
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Asin: B00000JTB2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2606
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Recorded for a television program of the same name back in 1983, In Session bills itself as the only known recording of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King, who was Vaughan's idol and mentor, playing together. That leads to some heavy expectations, which fortunately aren't disappointed, at least if you aren't expecting the customary over-the-top performances Vaughan was famous for. His playing here is much more laid-back and controlled, which is actually a recommendation--the stylistic similarities between teacher and student are that much more pronounced. The songs are mostly King concert staples, with the exception of "Pride and Joy"; highlights include the T-Bone Walker classic "Call It Stormy Monday" and one of King's own, "Overall Junction," which features some excellent guitar solo work. The snippets of recorded conversation between songs are interesting curiosities as well. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (97)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sublime
If you're even remotely interested in the blues or guitars then you need to add this CD to your shopping cart immediately.

Rarely is such an energetic and explosive combination of guitar legends captured on tape so well. I just listen in awe whenever I play this CD. Stevie's playing is incredible - listen to Albert King's exclamations throughout the session. It's as though Stevie is channeling Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix and, yes, Albert King, all at once and those spirits are just flowing through his fingers. His improvisation is simply astounding. Albert King is content to sit back and let Stevie dominate while accenting the songs with his own trademark licks and riffs. But don't be fooled, Albert is still very much in charge here. It's clearly his session and Stevie's content to follow his idol's lead while blowing him away all at the same time.

I could write all day about how great this CD, but I won't. Just buy it. And when "Blues At Sunrise" comes on you can send me a little mental thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an awesome CD!
This wonderfully recorded CD sheds light on the warm relationship SRV had with Albert King. This kinship comes across throughout the entire recording. SRV plays great guitar and takes many powerful and colorful solos. Here, we find a little known aspect of Albert King's guitar playing. He was also a fantastic rhythm player when he backs up Stevie! We should be grateful that this session has surfaced because it's as if the blues master passes the torch to the student. If you are a fan of Stevie Ray Vaughan or Albert King then this CD should be in your collection because it cooks from start to finish.

5-0 out of 5 stars A blues lesson as told from father to son.
This is great stuff!! Two legendary blues guitarists which have a tremendous time together playing the blues. The CD contains fast rock/blues tracks but also long tracks of awsome slow blues. Sit down on your chair with a glass of beer and a cigarette and relax: this is some of the best blues you'll ever will get!

Respect!

5-0 out of 5 stars in session albert king stevie ray vaughn
this is a great cd,albert was at his best and so was stevie ray.i was amazed how much albert king admired stevie's playing.all i can say outstanding.i always tell new blues fans to search this cd out.because it is so wonderful

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best of Two Worlds-Then and Now
Two generations of blues masters come together in one dynamite CD...Austin's Stevie Ray and the Chicago Master, Albert King. Both left this life too quickly, King at 69 and Stevie Ray at 35 but their music will live on for future generations. You will love this one! ... Read more


15. B.B. King - Greatest Hits
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars "So You See Why I Stuck With Blues."
This BB King quote, stated to David Ritz, was his conclusion to why he chose to play and sing blues over his other love, gospel music. "A gospel song would get me a pat on the head," he said. "But a blues would get me a dime." The blues earned King not only more than his share of dimes, but a spot among music's seminal performers and teachers. Despite Ritz properly mentioning that King's music was too blue for rock and roll or soul during his early career, he has become as much a caretaker of rock's traditions as of the blues themselves.

This one-disc collection, even at 16 songs, seems too little space for BB King's prolific, quality output, especially after 1992's expansive "King Of The Blues" box. But "Greatest Hits" timed to King's most recent rock-oriented successes: his "How Blue Can You Get?" sampled on a pop hit, his U2 collaboration, his Robert Cray duet on "Playing With My Friends" (from "Blues Summit," among the 90s best blues releases), even "Paying The Cost To Be The Boss" covered by Pat Benatar! With remarkable liner notes and references to original ABC/MCA LPs (nearly all in print), "Greatest Hits" is a sampler tour through BB King's immense, classic blues catalogue.

It's also another chance to hear King with much better sound, courtesy of compiler Andy McKaie (who handled MCA's exceptional Chess blues compilations) and Erick Labson's remastering. It freshly paints Johnny Pate's production on 1964's seminal "Live At The Regal" tracks, King's 1969-70 string of of rockin' blues hits ("Why I Sing The Blues," the original "Thrill Is Gone"), even overlooked gems like Doc Pomus/Dr. John's tailor-made "There Must Be A Better World Somewhere."

What "Greatest Hits" shows most is King's guitar playing and vocal economy; no melismatic vocal trills or guitar hyperspace, even live where crowds needed pleasing. Instead, King's solos in "I Like To Live The Love" and "Don't Answer The Door" press the melody forward, and his underrated vocals show occassional collaborator Bobby Bland's strong "Sinatra Of The Blues" influence. King shared (or at least impressed) these traits on his most recent collaborator, Eric Clapton, and here does with just-enough help from friends like Joe Walsh and Leon Russell (on Russell's "Hummingbird") and Stevie Wonder (on "To Know You Is To Love You..")

"Greatest Hits" is THE King album for casual fans or those who enjoy his rare spins on classic rock or oldies radio. Blues fans wanting to dig deeper should pick up any of the original LPs, including "Live At The Regal," "There Must Be A Better World Somewhere," "Indianola Mississippi Seeds, " or the Bobby Bland collaborations. "Greatest Hits" covers quality ground quickly, and thus remains an essential one-stop blues shop.

3-0 out of 5 stars Too focused on mediocre latter-day material
This certainly isn't everything you could ever want from the Beale Street Blues Boy, but it does give the first-time listener a pretty accurate idea about what to expect from B.B. King. For better or worse.

His excellent and highly influential 50s singles are missing, which is a shame, especially since some of those were actually sizable hits and this compilation has the audacity to call itself "Greatest Hits".
Still, there are lot of great moments here anyway...the swinging "Paying The Cost To Be The Boss", the epic "Why I Sing The Blues", and the slow burner "How Blue Can You Get" among them, and they sit next to two cuts from King's highly succesful "Live At The Regal" album, an excellent "Sweet Little Angel" and a hideous "Every Day I Have The Blues" which falls miles short of Memphis Slim's potent original ("Nobody Loves Me").

But there are too many mediocrities on this album...King experimented with some sort of pop-blues fusion in the 70s and 80s, and the compilers have included "To Know You Is to Love You", "I Like To Live The Love" and "Hummingbird" from that unfortunate era. The duets with Robert Cray on "Playin' With My Friends" and rock group U2 on "When Love Comes To Town" are not much more uplifting, and too much of this material was recorded well after King's prime.

If you like B.B. King at his most pop-friendly, you will probably enjoy this compilation. If you like him at his grittiest, you will certainly be disappointed. May I suggest the double-disc "Anthology" instead, along with "Do The Boogie: B.B. King's Early '50s Classics" instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ohhh, man, ain't nuttin' like the blues by way'a the King...
I like to think that my musical tastes run very deep an' very broad; I also like 'ta think that I can jus' pick up any album by any artist of any genre an' feel it at any given time. But, there are those days, yep, there ARE those days when I need me some blues music. Some straight-forward, no apologies, no variations, an' no deeper meaning to any of it, than jus' bein' the BLUES. I've got a few different selections by B.B. King (not enough to call myself a die-hard or anything), but I think I get the MOST outta this hits collection. Is' got ALL the classics that e'ybody knows; so much so that there's no need for me to liste 'em. Every song on here is equally good; in other words, THERE IS NOT ONE BAD SONG ON THIS DISC! You better believe it, too. An' I really can't get enough of it.

Here's a situation: This morning I said my prayers, I watched a lil' tube, I smoked my first cigarette in two weeks an' decided that my attempt to quit jus' isn't gonna take jus' yet, I hadda argument with my ex (we were doin' so good the past week too), so what that all amounts to is that tonight I'm'a sit back, drink a few beers, smoke some cigarettes, an' listen to this CD, blues at it's best. Then I'm'a say my nighttime prayers, lay my head down, an' hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Thas' what it all means to me.

I'll definitely explore some more'a the King's work in the near-future, but for now, I'm good with this. It keeps me toned down enough to not get lost in my pain, but it allows me to not give in to the "look on the bright side" bullcrap an' jus' wallow for the time being. I love me some blues music. 'Specially when is' done right. An' the King ALWAYS did it right.

4-0 out of 5 stars His Bluesy Best
A nice compilation of this blues legend. Some catchy lyrics and strong guitar solos exist throughout this collection. The first seven songs are strictly three chord blues progressions which can be a bit tiresome for some audiences. However, the catchy lyrics make you pay attention to such gems as Paying The Cost To Be The Boss, How Blue Can You Get?, and The Thrill Is Gone.

The next few tracks have a more varied arrangement and get away from the standard three chord progression. BB King gets funky in spots and the use of strings and horns in the background add a nice touch. The duets with Bono and Robert Cray are quite good. A nice intro to this legend, indeed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Teriffic Blues music
BB King: Greatest Hits is a tremendously wonderful Blues CD. It has all the music you could expect. It's too bad my family has only one BB King CD. But now knowing how good BB King is, I'm going to collect more. So if you like BB King, you'll LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. ... Read more


16. His Best : The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection
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Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs is perhaps the most influential harmonica player on contemporary blues, and his collection is a great place to start. He was trained by Muddy Waters, but brought a more swinging feel to blues. Muddy and his band accompany Little Walter on many hits, as do Robert "Jr." Lockwood, the Aces, and other Chicago greats. In the 1950s, Little Walter's popularity eclipsed even Waters', his style a little more relaxed and pop-oriented. Walter's versions of many songs are the standards: "Blues with a Feeling," "You're So Fine," "Juke." Great stuff. --Robert Gordon ... Read more

Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars ****½. Almost perfect
This is the best available single-disc overview of Little Walter Jacobs' career.

The highly renowned blues harmonica player was not a singer of the caliber of Muddy Waters, or a songwriter to rival Sonny Boy Williamson (II), but his recording career spanned some 20 years, and there are more than enough gems in his catalogue to fill this disc to the point of overflowing.

"His Best" has the best sound currently available, and excellent liner notes, and while the double-disc "The Essential Little Walter" is more thorough, this is all that most listeners will need. A couple of great songs are missing, most notably Walter's gritty rendition of Willie Dixon's "Dead Presidents", but that's a minor quibble...almost all of Walter's best is here.

1997's "His Best" takes the place of MCA/Chess' original 12-track LP "The Best Of Little Walter", a landmark blues album which had remained in print for over three decades. Here is his first hit single, the instrumental hit "Juke", as well as Walter's versions of Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway", Dixon's "My Babe", and T-Bone Walker's "Mean Old World" (shamelessly credited to Jacobs himself). And virtually all of Walter's best self-penned songs are here..."Blues With A Feeling", "Boom Boom, Out Goes The Light", "Tell Me Mama", and numerous often masterful instrumentals.

This is certainly the place to start, the finest single-disc Little Walter-compilation on the market.

5-0 out of 5 stars Little Walter: His Best
Beginning his career performing his masterful harmonica playing in Muddy Waters' band, Little Walter broke out on his own with his 1952 hit "Juke." From there Walter's amplified sound (which he originated) became a common entity of Chicago blues. This best-of collection selects the cream of the crop from mostly Walters 1950's sessions recorded for the Chess label; revealing him not only as a divine harmonica player, but as a skilled songwriter as well.

Included on the album are classic numbers such as the bouncing rhythm of the aforementioned "Juke", the wailing harmonica of "Blues With A Feeling", and the hopping "My Babe", a song penned by the great Willie Dixon, becoming the biggest hit of Walter's career in early 1955.

In addition, three photographs and six pages of insightful,well written notes by Billy Altman are included. Although a few noteworthy numbers are absent, this collection remains a fine testament of one of the founding fathers of Chicago Blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars sure, he's the king of the harp players, but...
...don't forget the singing - little walter is one of the greatest singers ever. and also the unique, immediately recognizable band concept, with a two-guitar sound that is a world unto itself, clearly distinct from the muddy/jimmy and wolf/hubert two-guitar deals. but really; come for the singing too - it is otherworldly sweet.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues harp at it's best!
If you're into blues harp there's no better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed
Marion Walter Jacobs (b. May 1, 1930 in Alexandria, Louisiana), and influenced by the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson (No. 1) and Louis Jordan and his jump saxophone arrangements, quite simply revolutionized the blues harmonica technique when he showed up at Chicago's famed Maxwell Street market in 1947.

Among the hundreds of artists plying their trade in that environment he stood out to the point where he attracted the interest of the small Chicago labels Ora Nelle and Regal where he cut several sides. His big break came in 1951 when the Chess brothers, Leonard and Phil, hired him to back Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers, and it was as much his amplified harmonica that made hits out of Mannish Boy, I'm Ready, and Standing Around Crying [by Waters), and That's All Right and The World Is In A Tangle (Rogers).

By 1952 he was assigned to the Checker subsidiary, and by that September he literally burst into prominence when the instrumental Juke streaked to # 1 R&B and remained there for eight solid weeks [the flip was Can't Hold On Much Longer and is erroneously listed in this compilation as "Can't Hold Out ..."). This single was billed to Little Walter and His Night Cats.

The follow-up Sad Hours (instrumental) didn't quite repeat that success, settling for # 2 early in 1953, while the vocal flipside, Mean Old World, reached # 6 as by Little Walter and His Night Caps. Fittingly, Muddy Waters played guitar on each of these first three hits.

When his next hit reached the charts later that spring (Off The Wall, # 8 as an instrumental, and Tell Me Mama, # 10 as a vocal, he was billed as Little Walter and His Jukes in order to capitalize on his debut smash hit. The Jukes consisted of Chess sessionmen Louis and David Myers on guitar and Fred Belows on drums.

From there to 1959 he would add 10 more hit singles to his credit, his last coming in 1959 when Everything Gonna Be Alright (erroneously listed as "Everything's") reached # 25 (his lowest charter) as simply by Little Walter. These included the seminal My Babe, written by Willie Dixon and based upon the old spiritual This Train, which became his only other # 1 hit, staying at that position for five weeks early in 1955.

It would have been nice if, in putting this tribute together, producer Andy McKaie had found room for the three hits omitted - Oh Baby which made it to # 8 in May 1954 b/w Rocker, You'd Better Watch Yourself which reached the same position that September b/w Blue Light, and Who, which reached # 7 in April 1956 b/w It Ain't Right. You can find You'd Better Watch Yourself on The Best Of Little Walter from MCA/Chess, also listed by Amazon.

Adding to this CD's worth are the six pages of liner notes written by Billy Altman, which includes a wonderful story behind Juke, several nice photographs, and a complete discography of the contents. To quote from Mr. Altman "By 1968 he was gone, leaving behind a legacy that harmonica players everywhere regard as, quite simply, the holy grail."

Just a superb collection. ... Read more


17. Live at the Regal
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Amazon.com essential recording

Heralded as one of the greatest live blues albums ever recorded, this set catches the singer-guitarist as his star was in ascent: in 1964 playing Chicago's answer to Harlem's Apollo Theater--the Regal. King's performance is visceral. He sings so hard that gravel flies even in his clearest high notes. And his trademark single-note guitar lines are sharp and steely, matching his voice with trembling vigor. He offers early hits like "How Blue Can You Get," "Worry, Worry," and "You Upset Me Baby" to what's essentially his adopted hometown crowd (by his own account, King had already played the theater hundreds of times). They give him a hero's welcome. In fact, the audience's screaming enthusiasm is distracting. But rarely has a love-fest of this magnitude between a performer and fans been documented. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars blues workout
B.B. King with his dearest, Lucille in action at the club The Regal. It is an absolutely incredible album in which you get drawn into further and further after each track. B.B.'s playing is top shelf and his audience surely lets him know. It is the raucous crowd that is audible during the whole show that seems to rub its excitement onto the listener. Anyway, this is a fantastic album that truly exemplifies how good a live blues album can really be. It is an album that is essential listening for any blues fan of any genre.

5-0 out of 5 stars the definitive
From the opening introduction to the last note, this CD is simply amazing. Kings voice resonates clearly and moves your soul. An economical guitar players every note he hits floods your body with emotion. With the live crowd in a frenzy you feel like you are at the Regal that night. This is the King of the Blues at the height of his powers and this is the best live record ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superlative live performance
It must have been a truly amazing night at the Regal Theater. I saw BB King perform at a stadium show a couple years ago, and he was still a fine performer even then, but this recording is the man in his prime in an intimate venue. The audience response complements the music rather than distracting from it. King clearly had these people in the palm of his hand. Judging from the clarity and power of his guitar playing and nuanced singing, it is not hard to understand why.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply put, marvelous.
This cd is one of the all time great vlues albums, and I am thankful that it has been restored onto cd, for further generations of bleus fans. This is classic BB in fine voice, and playing jazz riffs on his guitar.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues People & Riley King
As has been noted, this is one of the essential albums, one of the records that everyone is supposed to have like John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, like Robert Johnson, like the music Billie Holiday made with Lester Young for Columbia, like Louis's Hot 5s and Hot 7s, like Elvis's Sun Sessions.

Beyond that, this is something that has become increasingly rare, a live blues recording where the music is played for blues people, African American working class and middle class blues people in an urban center. This all about singing and swinging and jiving and talking to the audience and the audience talking back.

When I was in Mississippi in the mid 1960s doing civil rights work, I met Blues People who loved BB King who didn't know that he played the guitar. The expression always was and still is 'BLUES SINGER," not blues guitarist. He sang the blues the way they needed to listen to and in a Blues People venue the folks will talk back to him too.

My favorite, classic moment of the blues dialog here is in "It's my own fault baby" where Riley sings "I gave you seven children, and now you want to give 'em back." All the sistas in the audience scream. Gruffer sounds came from the men.

What is essential to blues performance for BLUES PEOPLE is the constant dialog between the singer and the audience that is the heart of the native blues experience. The dialog isn't about the impeccable guitar playing on this record, or the totally righteous playing of the band, or even the fine voice of Riley B. King here, but it is about what the words the lyrics speak to the lives of the audience, and what the audience responds to the singer. That's the center of blues, not heavy guitar licks that the post-folk-post rock blues fan thinks is the essence of heavy blues.

It's a shame the audience for the blues has almost disappeared, that blues stars no longer play in big "Chitlin' Circuit" theaters like the Regal, the Apollo, the Howard, the old non hippie Fillmore, or that you can't see Riley or Bobby Blue Bland in smoky little night clubs in the ghetto.

Perhaps, I am showing my age here, because time has to roll on. I am sure that night at the Regal there was someone who could remember when the sistas and their men would be shouting back at things Bessie Smith, or Big Maceo and Tampa Read, Lonnie Johnson, or Memphis Minnie had sung to them from that same stage without the electric instruments.

The real Black blues when it was based among us, was about singing, about commentary. For even the greatest guitarists like Riley, Lonnie Johnson, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Lee Hooker, Guitar Slim, the guitar playing and the band were just ways to emphasize how the to talk to audience. This brings to mind that great Betty Carter Album, "The Audience and Betty Carter." This is the Blues People and Riley King talking to each other. That's priceless, get it, and listen to it. ... Read more


18. Down in the Basement: Joe Bussard's Treasure Trove of Vintage 78s 1926-1937
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars I swear I can almost smell his cigar!
This is the most fun I've ever had with a compact disc. Joe Bussard spent his entire life searching shotgun shacks for dusty old 78s. Now he lives to share them with anyone with an ear or two. I'm telling you, there should be a Saint category for this (Remind me to email John Paul II after I'm done here).

The music is completely joyous. The well-designed booklet holds many great tales of Bussard's record-hunting expeditions. Listening to the CD and reading his stories makes me feel like I'm in his damn basement, digging Stack-O-Lee right along with Joe and his cat.

If you want to hear some real honest-to-gosh beautiful roots music that you won't find anywhere else, go Down in the Basement; it's among the best the twentieth century had to offer.

Thanks Joe! And let's have a second volume soon!

Ed Kaz 1.20.04

5-0 out of 5 stars Down in the Groove
This record is a complete blast, from the track selection to the packaging. Joe Broussard owns 50,000 78s of gospel, old country, blues, cajun, etc and 24 of them made it on this disc. The sound is sparkling and the only clunker track is "Give the World a Smile" by the Corley Family. Good to hear some obscurities alongside Rev Gary Davis and Big Bill Broonzy and I'm glad the world has at least a couple of pale record freaks who like to sit in their basements sniffing shellac and collecting pristine old-time music. Makes me want to go steal a Victrola!

5-0 out of 5 stars Two dozen time machines that work
Joe Bussard has one of the coolest record collections on earth.
He started his own pirate radios station in his parent's basement when he was a teen in the later 40s. He later did real radio shows and still does. He started collecting records when he was 12 years old and he still does. He started his own record label called Fonotone and John Fahey recorded his first records in Joe's basement. This comes with a 74 page incredible illustrated an informative book. Too bad there's only ONE disc considering the size of Joe's collection, but we can all hope and pray for this to be the first in a loooooooong series of such anthologies. This set of 24 old-time songs, hillbilly whoops, jazz, country blues, gospel, jug bands, and more, feels as alive today as the moment it was created. This is so great, get it and you'll be rewarded with some incredible music and a cool visit with Joe Bussard by way of the extensive liner notes and images.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Legendary Joe Bussard
Bussard is a legend among old record collectors and this opening of his vaults promises musical bliss. For the complete story on Bussard go to http://www.bluesworld.com/Bussard.html -- and after reading it you'll have to agree with the previous reviwer that one CD is not enough. Maybe there will be future volumes....

5-0 out of 5 stars Why oh why only one CD?! Buy it anyways!
The only problem with this CD is we get nice big fancy packaging and only one CD. Joe Bussard has 25,000+ 78's in his collection and we only get 24 of 'em?! This should have at least been a two disc set, at least. But who cares, the music is amazing and the booklet is entertaining. If your a diehard old time music freak you probably already have everthing on this disc, but if you're like me and are just now discovering this music, buy it, along with all the other Old Hat CD's and everything on Yazoo Records. ... Read more


19. Paul Butterfield Blues Band
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5-0 out of 5 stars Where The First Blues Revival Really Began
It's only too easy to overrate the original Butterfield Blues Band, who kick-started the original mid-1960s blues revival and, as it happens, sent the folk "revival" of the earlier part of the decade all but packing as a mass phenomenon, both with their own electrifying workshop performances at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and with a few of them (guitarist extraordinaire Mike Bloomfield, drummer Sam Lay, and bassist Jerry Arnold) limbering up behind Bob Dylan for the latter's long-legendary electric set. But there's no overrating the Butterfield gang's music or debut album - almost forty years after the sextet first laid it out, it's riveting, elemental, and demands to be heard all through each layer of the thrustingly sensitive sound.

They may have anchored themselves with Howlin' Wolf's rhythm section (Lay and Arnold), but Butterfield's heart seemed more to belong to Little Walter, both in the preponderance of Walter's material covered (and with reverence but not redundancy) here and in elements of his own harmonica style. (As it happened, Butterfield, Bloomfield, and second guitarist Elvin Bishop had each known, played with, and learned from the Chicago electric blues masters previously, and never lost the old masters' respect.) Bloomfield, of course, was already an outsized talent in his own right - he's not quite the sleek, polished old pro who would go from drop-dead to existentially expressive (by way of his luminous work with first the Electric Flag and, later, the Al Kooper "Super Session" projects), but he's exuberant, committed, and passionate, and he's already figuring out how to temper his chops and subordinate them to taste and to melodiousness in his solos by the time the set begins to wind down. Not that it's so bad when he just lets fly - in fact, he's the main instigator behind "Screamin'," possibly the wildest instrumental to spring up from any of the decade's blues revivalists, both as its co-composer and its prime cattle prod, dropping off a solo here and there to deliver little sharp stings to either Butterfield (with some choice harmonica sweeps and cries), Bishop (an occasional spiky lick here and there and effectively), and keyboard ace Mark Naftalin while letting the rhythm section whomp it up shamelessly.

Still, the band was wholly accessible, from the romping "Shake Your Moneymaker" to the strolling "Last Night"; from the rocking "Born in Chicago" to the galloping "Thank You, Mr. Poobah"; from the dripping "Our Love Is Drifting" to the bristling boogie joyousness of Sam Lay taking the vocal for "Got My Mojo Workin'." Butterfield was a passable vocalist with perhaps more feeling than voice, but he proved himself a legitimate comer as a blues harp specialist and bandleader. That the elders from whom he and his merry men learnt their blues directly accepted them as one of their own testifies even more potently to how powerful this album was then...and now. But even without its time-and-place importance, it's just good music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues for Big John's
From November 1964 until September 1966, I had the good luck to work at Big John's, the legendary Chicago blues club in the city's Old Town area a couple of miles north of the Loop. The Paul Butterield Blues Band really took off during its many engagements at Big John's.

This is the band's first album. The cover art shows Mike Bloomfield (left), Paul Butterfield, Sammy Lay, Elvin Bishop, and Jerome Arnold. The photo was taken on Chicago's Maxwell Street.

This is the band that opened the doors at Big John's to all of the great black blues bands on the South and West Sides: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and others. This is the band that inspired other young white blues musicians who appeared at Big John's: Corky Siegel and Jim Schwall, Barry Goldberg and Steve Miller. This is the band that turned heads at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival when it backed Bob Dylan. This is the band that paved the way for the blues revolution in the 1960s and beyond.

Some of the songs on this album are blues classics, while others were written by South Side native Nick "The Greek" Gravenites and have since become blues classics. Nick is a blues legend himself and was a close friend of Butterfield and Bloomfield.

All of us at Big John's were excited by this album when Elektra released it. We felt we were riding the crest of a wave. Hearing this album always evokes warm memories of a wonderful time in my life, when I couldn't wait to go to work each night to hear more of this great music. And I was able to so for almost two years, until Big John's was closed by the powers that be in Chicago. The club was gone forever. But not the music.

You may read more of my memories of those great days on my jazz and big band web site...

5-0 out of 5 stars the start of it all
Although the real roots lie with the black artists who inspired these guys, the PBBB is where the hippy generation,(this is a couple years pre-San Francisco, and before the Stones and Beatles began stretching their arrangements out on record),learned to JUST PLAY. Their next record was more representative of what they were actually doing live at time time, and is the single greatest influence on what became the San Francisco sound of the late 60's and early 70's, (REALLY long and experimental jamming), so this is in fact the "roots of the roots of the roots" of todays jam bands and guitar-heavy blues bands, mixed-race bands, and, for all practical purposes, the white-blues-man in todays' world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Milestone In Music
In the early Sixties, the prevailing wisdom was that the blues was a music based on the shared experience of African Americans and that any attempt by a "Caucasian" to play the blues would..er, uh...pale in comparison to the authentic renditions of the blues by African Americans. In 1965, Paul Butterfield broke that color barrier, not by successfuly "imitating" black blues musicians, but by developing his own signature playing and singing style that demanded that audiences and critics accept Butterfield on his own terms. Butterfield's passion and intensity transcended any formulamatic notions of authenticity simply because of Butterfield's refusal to be evaluated as an imitator. His playing and singing were so uniquely stylized and original that when Butterfield played "Look Over Yonder's Wall" nobody used the Elmore James original as a litmus test of authenticity. I've heard enough bad imatators of B.B.King, both black and white, to know that racial authenticy is not a very reliable benchmark to evaluate good blues. Mediocrity is color blind, as is brilliance and any argument to the contrary is simply, as they say, academic.

Butterfield's band was bi-racial with rythym section consisting of Howlin' Wolf Band veterans Jerome Green on bass and the mighty Sam Lay on drums. Elvin Bishop, a University of Chicago student from Oklahoma learned guitar under the tutelage of another Howlin' Wolf veteran, Smokey Smothers. From 1963 until 1965 Bishop and Butterfield played together at Little John's a smokey blues joint on Chicago's northside. Near the time of this recording, Mark Naftalin was added to the band. Naftalin, a former University of Chicago student, played understated but tasty solos on Hammond organ. Naftalin was a nuanced jazz player having received a year of formal training at Mannes College of Music, where he was recruited by Butterfield for the band.

Many of the tracks from this album were originally recorded without Michael Bloomfield's guitar, but Butterfield reluctantly added Bloomfield, an out of work session player under contract to Columbia Records, at the urging of Paul Rothschild, the brilliant producer at the budding Elektra record label. Bloomfield was a young guitar savant whose signture guitar style contained elements of Albert King's tension, release and sustained feedback; Wes Montgomery's cascading flurries of jazz notes; Elmore James' electrifying bottle neck; and even unconvential modalities like atonal Indian ragas and swaying samba rythyms. The diffence of the in the master tapes with and without Bloomfield is startling. The addition of Bloomfield's explosive guitar playing appears to have ignited the entire band

On the opening cut, "Born In Chicago" Butterfield wastes no time in dispelling the white blues efficacy argument with his take no prisoners approach to blues shouting. The hard edged lyrics to Nick Gravenites's song,"...I was born in Chicago in 1941, and my father told me, son you had better get a gun", seemed to be issuing a challenge to the Doubting Thomases with staid intellectual theories of black authenticity. Butterfield's haromica playing is so uniquely sculpted that comparisons to either Little Walter or Sonny Boy Williamson are futile. The approach of the Butterfield Blues Band raises the ante to new sonic levels. The decibel level is so high and the playing is so intense that it appears that the band can generate enough electricity to light up the Chicago skyline. Butterfield and his guitarist Bloomfield appear to be circling each other like caged lions in the crossfire between the harmonica and guitar solos. Elvin Bishop's rippling and bracing guitar solos are almost an afterthought because Butterfield and Bloomfield remained locked in a tense struggle for sonic domination of the band that rages like a prarie fire until the last note of the final song, "Look Over Yonder's Wall."

Such was the legendary mutual ambivalence between Paul Butterfield and Michael Bloomfield...the twin towers of the Butterfield Blues Band. Both men were so endowed with rare musical talent that only an act of serendipity placed them on the same stage together. They were linked forever by this hellaciously good band, but each seemed to be saying to the other the equivalent of, "This band ain't big enough for the both of us." It was this brinksmanship between Butter and Bloom that often pushed the band into uncharted territory.

I saw this edition of the Butterfield Band twice in concert and their approach to both jazz and blues was so intense that they appeared to be tearing a hole in the fabric of the cosmos itself, armed with the sword of Damocles. The brilliance of Paul Rothchild's production was that he captured this raw intensity and seamless playing skill on vinyl. One can take a snapshot of the eye of a hurricane, but few photos capture the fury of storm, itself. Rothchild seemed to have bottled a raging force of nature, using some form of trickery at the studio mixing console. Bloomfield was partially responsible because he was the rare musician could play on a both a concert stage, or the clinical setting of a studio booth with the same pulse stopping immediacy.

For better or for worse, Butterfield's first album was an early statement of a generation of musicians who were unwilling to accept the arbitrary limits of conventional wisdom. It was 1965; and the musical revolution that about to change everyone's lives so dramatically was just budding forth. As the Sixties unfolded a hundreds of self-styled musicians bloomed into musical maturity and like Butterfield and Bloomfield, they challenged conventional wisdom and often their creativity crossed the divide between the sacred and the profane, but we are all better people for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars El mejor grupo de blues de los 60.
Mientras los grupos Ingleses de mediados de los 60 redescubrían el blues y lo llevaban a grandes audiencias, al otro lado del Atlántico Paul Butterfield y su banda inician ya en forma definitiva el blues rock, dejando bien en claro el tema a los entusiastas jóvenes Ingleses.

Aunque no exactamente blues blanco (un tercio del grupo no lo es), las verdaderas estrellas son Butterfield y Bloomfield, que con 23 y 22 años más bien parecen veteranos maestros del blues que dos jovenes aprendices. Lo cierto es que el dominio y seguridad que muestra Butterfield tanto al canto como en la armónica están muy por encima de los típicos cantantes blancos de la época. Mención aparte merece Mike Bloomfield, quizás el guitarrista menos reconocido en la historia del rock. ni Clapton ni Beck tsonaban como Bloomfield en 1965, un guitarrista verdaderamente genial que en los instrumentales Thank You Mr. Poobah y Screamin' y en Blues With A Feeling muestra lo mejor de su talento.

Si John Mayall y compañía se llevaron el crédito en Inglaterra, Paul Butterfield y su banda (gran compañía también) merecen un destacado lugar en la historia por su enorme influencia en el desarrollo del blues y su variante más rock. ... Read more


20. The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James
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Asin: B0000032Z0
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Sales Rank: 7257
Average Customer Review: 4.93 out of 5 stars
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Other post-WWII Chicago bluesmen are better known, but the work of Elmore James holds up as well as any of theirs. If he never had the technical accomplishment of, say, Earl Hooker, he did have as much depth of emotional expression as Muddy Waters; just listen to the sweetness of "I Need You" or the pain of "It Hurts Me, Too." The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James contains some of the most important work of a man who still reigns as the king of slide guitar; anyone who wears a bottleneck today owes a debt to James. Highlights include Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom," which James made his signature tune, as well as the title track, which contains some of the sweetest licks in blues history. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best choice for an introduction to Elmore's music
This CD is great because it draws together the major works Elmore performed for the various labels he graced in the 50s and 60s -- The Bihari Brother's Modern/Flair; Phil & Leonard Chess's Chess Records, Bobby London's tiny Chief label, and Bobby Robinson's Fire/Fury/Enjoy unit. Also included is Elmore's very first, and in some ways most characteristic, recording of "Dust My Broom" for the Trumpet label in Jackson, MS. This set beautifully traces Elmore's evolution from a countrified blues shouter with a bottleneck style to a Chicago bluesman with a sophisticated band (which stuck with him without major changes from 1952 until the early 1960s). His screaming slide guitar is already evident in some of the early Flairs -- like Hawaiian Boogie and I Can't Hold Out. The raw intensity of his vocal work is no better highlighted than on Look On Yonder Wall and Something Inside Me. My only complaint is that no example of his Chicago/Jump blues style is present, something like "Make My Dreams Come True" (which B.B.King copied note for note to get a #1 R&B hit in 1953). But, c'est la vie. There is noone else in the blues fields who combined the searing intensity of virtuoso guitar work and the scathing vocal style fused into that intense package of sound made only by Elmore James. This sound cannot help but be recognized in seconds by anyone with a passing acquaintanceship with classic electric blues. This is the REAL stuff. For my money, Elmore beats Muddy, Wolf, Sonny Boy and the rest because, with Elmore, you get higher quality guitar, and the sound of the music is guttier and closer to the bone. And, it helps that Elmore's musicians are arguably the best that Chicago had to offer (the only other aggregation that compares is the Muddy Waters band of the mid-50s.)Don't miss this if you like Blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars King of the Slide Guitar
Elmore James, in my humble opinion, is the most underrated blues guitarist of all time. He took what he learned from listening to Robert Johnson, plugged it into an electric guitar, and blew the roof off the blues world! The opening to Johnson's "Dust my Broom" is probably the coolest blues guitar riff known to man. In short, Elmore rules!

5-0 out of 5 stars Enough Elmore for all but the most serious collectors.
Elmore James was on at least a few labels, so it's not that too hard to dig up lots more if you want to, but for most of us, this is a whole lot of great blues from one of the most talented and important artists. For some strange reason , not nearly enough guys out there now are playing this slide style now. To check out a modern-day Elmore, still playing the joints, look for Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials.

5-0 out of 5 stars See also; Earl Hooker
Easily, the best Elmore James compilation!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection of some of the Best Blues Ever
With the success of "Dust My Broom", Elmore James found himself recording numerous "varients" of this masterpiece due to its proven commercial appeal. Thus, many collections of Elmore James sound like the same song over and over again.

Such a collection of "Dust My Broom" variations would rate a 4-star rating. However, this collection shows that James was certainly no one-hit wonder, with a broad range of guitar playing and singing talent. For those keeping score, there are about 4-5 "Dust My Broom" variations in this collection.

Elmore James is becoming discovered as one of the great bluemen, and this collection makes it pretty clear why. ... Read more


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