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1. Avalon Blues : Complete 1928 Okeh
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2. Blues Singer
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3. Not The Same Old Blues Crap II
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4. The Complete Early Recordings
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5. King of the Delta Blues
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6. King of Delta Blues Singers
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7. The Road We're On
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8. Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live
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9. Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues:
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10. Not the Same Old Blues Crap
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11. The Best Of Friends
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12. Complete Collection
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13. Prison Songs (Historical Recordings
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14. A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
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15. The Chess Box
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16. Southern Journey, Vol. 9: Harp
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17. Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
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18. Every Road I Take: The Best Of
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19. Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And
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20. Come On In

1. Avalon Blues : Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings
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Asin: B000002AEN
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5232
Average Customer Review: 4.84 out of 5 stars
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Mississippi John Hurt recorded 13 country-blues songs for the Okeh Electric Records company in 1928. Then he vanished. Actually, he never went anywhere. Indeed, he never strayed from his hometown of Avalon, Mississippi. He simply put the guitar down. It was the Great Depression, times were tough, money was scarce, and he needed to work. Nearly 30 years later, a blues enthusiast tracked him down, took him back to Washington, D.C., and suddenly Mississippi John's musical career resumed as quickly as it had finished. He recorded again, but these first songs from the late 1920s--with John's melancholy voice and hypnotic guitar playing at its most inspired--are his greatest musical accomplishments. --Percy Keegan ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A treasury of the music of the 20th century
Mississippi John Hurt (1893-1966) is a strange man in the blues history.In fact, he's not really a blues musician,but rather, like his elder, Leadbelly (Huddie Ledbetter,1889-1949), a songster.He was a small, gentle man, who recorded these 13 sides in the twenties, and waited until the early sixties to be rediscovered;during the last years of his life,he toured,playing at Newport and other festivals, and recorded several albums, mostly for Vanguard.I always found that Hurt's voice was one of the most fascinating I ever heard; a swinging,mild voice,that tells a lot about the graciousness of the man.His guitar picking,which looks like beeing simple,is in fact one of the most difficult and original I ever heard.I wish I had such a thumb to play the bass parts on my guitar ! John Hurt plays some tunes that were already old tunes in 1928 : the haunting "Louis Collins",the eternal "Stack o'Lee",the classic "Candy man"(you can listen to outstanding versions of this tune by Reverend Gary Davis),some sacred tunes,"blessed be the name","praying on the old camp ground",and some blues,"Avalon blues","big leg blues",or "spike driver blues".By the way, Hurt was rediscovered in the early sixties because he recorded that tune,"Avalon blues".Listening to it,some people went to this town,hoping that he still was living there.Mississippi John Hurt is a master in the music of the past century,reaching the same rank as Blind Willie Johnson,Charley Patton or Skip James.His 1928 sessions will allways remain some of the greatest masterpieces in the blues history.I personnaly enjoy his music for more than twenty years,and I hope you'll do the same.

5-0 out of 5 stars Everlasting Blues
This cd, which represents the complete 1928 recordings of Mississippi John Hurt is truly blues everlasting. It is amazing to realize when listening to this that it was recorded that long ago. The quality of the songs, John Hurt's voice and his guitar playing skill are all superb.

As other's have mentioned John Hurt was born in 1892, and developed notoriety for his skills as a musician. He was recorded in 1928 and then vanished into the farmlands of Mississippi. With the resurgence of folk and blues music in the early 1960's many so-called lost artists were "rediscovered." Mississippi John Hurt was among these musicians. Rediscovered by a young blues enthusiast Tom Hoskins, who took a clue from a line in one of Hurt's songs "Avalon's my home, always on my mind" to track him down. From that time until his death in 1966 Hurt became a fixture on the folk circuit.

It really is not surprising that he was so well received in the 60's when one looks at this cd which represents Mississippi John's early work. It includes many truly classic songs, Frankie, Stack O'Lee, Candy Man, Spike Driver Blues and Nobody's Dirty Business. Lines such as "he was a bad man, cruel Stack o' Lee." "He was her man and he done her wrong" "angels laid him away," "You're so heavy make a good man change his mind" and "take this hammer, carry it to the captain" demonstrate the richness of both the folk tradition and Hurts music. Artists such as Jerry Garcia, Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal and Jesse Colin Young have felt compelled to perform his songs.

His voice is pure, sweet and pleasing. While it does not carry the angst of such early performers as Charley Patton and Robert Johnson, it's honesty is copied by others. His guitar playing is amazing and this alone could carry the cd. Artist who have been influenced by his style are Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Rory Block, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Sonny Landreth.

For those who are interested in folk, blues, the history of modern music or any of the artists mentioned this is a worthwhile cd to have.

4-0 out of 5 stars Silky smooth vocals, gorgeous guitar, psychotic lyrics.
This truly is a treasure of early 20th century music. And the story of Mississippi John Hurt's "discovery" and renewed career at the end of his life in the 1960's is just wonderful. For his guitar playing skills the man is probably a virtuoso or a genius - or both. The syncopated fingerpicking is as delicate and intricate as a finely sewn needlework. And his voice is gentle and sweet. Musically it is easy to listen to and riveting at the same time. But - there is a catch here . . . in some of these songs, juxtaposed against the gentleness of the playing and singing, are lyrics that will make your jaw drop in shock at their sheer brutality. Some seem like they were written by a psychopath. He sings to a jaunty ragtime accompaniment in his sweet gentle voice: "one of these days I'm gonna wake up boozy, grab a gun and kill my Suzie". Regardless of where or when it was written - how on earth did this guy figure this was good subject matter for a song? And he isn't being metaphorical. Even weirder is that thrown into the mix are some "spiritual" songs. I mean - one minute the guy's gonna kill his baby (and thinks that no one else should be concerned about it) and the next - he's praisin' the lord. Lyrically, this is stuff Charles Manson would relate to. In any event, the music is superb and most of the songs have relatively "normal" lyrics. The fingerstyle guitar playing is amazing and it alone makes this an album worth getting. Just tune out the bizarre lyrics in some of the songs. Four and a half stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gently rockin' blues...
This cd has a variety it is no doubt blues, however Hurt is more versitile then just a blues singer, he is a masterful guitar player, who picks ragtime melodies, and sings folksy style, while gently rocking both vocally and instrumentaly.

Hurt was ahead of his time by 30 years, before the folk music scene was huge in the 60's, also he was looking back 20 years to the 1910's and ragtime. An interesting mix 1n 1928 lookin to the past and the future ta make some great original and truly unique and from the heart warming blues.

An essential cd is the bottom line

5-0 out of 5 stars Gentle and Timeless
Mississippi John Hurt possessed a gentle and timeless voice and guitar playing skill. His guitar work is considered to be some of the greatest, and most complicated, in all of American music, and his voice is immediately soothing to even the savage beast. Songs like "Frankie," "Ain't No Tellin'," and "Avalon Blues" will surely leave many students of guitar simply breathless. To those who do not play any musical instruments, his flowing guitar technique is still dazzling, and his voice is more "homey" and "likeable" than perhaps anyone else's, even the great Louis Armstrong's. As a darling of the Blues/Folk Revival of the 1960s, Hurt often played the Pre-War songs we hear on this disc, and almost just as well as he did back in the old days, one might add. This is a great disc for both the musician and the listener in us all. ... Read more

2. Blues Singer
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Asin: B00009EIQE
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7471
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Not known for his acoustic work, Buddy Guy unplugs for a rare album-length excursion into folk blues. Continuing the rootsy, bare-bones approach that made 2001’s electric Sweet Tea (also produced by Dennis Herring) so gutsy and memorable, the guitarist gets down and dirty with 12 tracks that sound like they were recorded after hours in his living room or on his back porch. Guy’s stinging leads are still evident as is his emotive voice, but both are less flamboyant in the unplugged setting. Accompanied by spare stand-up bass and brushed drums, Guy sounds nearly possessed on covers from Skip James ("Hard Time Killing Floor"), Johnny Shines ("Moanin’ and Groanin’"), Son House ("Louise McGhee"), and John Lee Hooker ("Sally Mae") among others. It’s a low-key, low-down affair made for late nights, rainy days, and the saddest of moods. Guy is just as convincing here--arguably more so--as on his barnstorming electric albums, making Blues Singer one of the bravest and most poignant albums in his catalog. --Hal Horowitz ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Buddy Is Back
My, my, my Buddy Guy you have definitely got the blues this time, yes you do.Welcome back Buddy:) So [darn] simple, so absolutely beautiful. Front porch, sitting in the shade & doing some blues. Nothing complicated, no show boating, no playing to the crowd (Mustang Sally:) a blues album for the true blues lover. Songs from John Lee Hooker, Frankie Lee Sims, Willie Dixon, Son House, Johnny Shines,Jack Owens & Robert Nighthawk fill this cup to the brim. The playing is wonderful but it is the SINGING people, the voice, the human instrutment that just blows your mind man.. Man, you just seemed to forget what a powerful & soulful singer Mr. BG can be. He is just vocal dynamite on this CD. BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. The CD starts out with Skip James tune HARD TIME KILLING FLOOR, an epic to hard times. Nail this bad boy to the floor BG. You got me feeling it Buddy, a desperate man indeed ,hoping for hope. CRAWLING KINGSNAKE, JLH chestnut, has Buddy crawling the floor for his lady. Sexy little number folks. Frankie Sims LUCY MAE BLUES next in line, done easy friends, no hurry, no worry, laid back. CAN'T SEE BABY (Jack Owens) talking about a man & wife in love but they can't get along. Been there, done that, have t-shirt.You can feel the hurting Buddy, yes I can.. LOVE THE LIFE I LIVE (Willie Dixon) once again, taken down a notch to take full advantage of Buddy's voice. LOUISE MCGHEE (Son House) nobody has the power of Mr. House but Buddy does a real sweet job on this tune. That Louise McGhee was indeed a heartbreaker who men did not forget. MOANIN' & GROANIN' (Johnny Shines) one of best vocal tracks on CD. BLACK CAT BLUES (JLH) man moanin' bout bad luck & troubles. In other words LIFE. BAD LIFE BLUES lady done wrong song that is on EVERY blues CD. Good man treated bad. Poor, hungry, down in the dumps the man can't get a break. One of best tunes on CD. SALLY MAE (JLH) starts with Buddy banter about JLH. Nice t ouch. Real sweet vocals on this one. ANNA LEE (Robert Nighthawk) starts with real sweet riff. Man wants woman song. Another of my favs here. End it with LONESOME HOME BLUES (Willie Borum) slow, easy tune with Buddy lightly touching these lonesome blues. I feel the pain Buddy, I do. Buddy has done an OUTSTANDING blues CD. Wonder if it will sell ? We shall see.......

5-0 out of 5 stars A Blues Legend That Just Gets Better!
I have to admit I was a little hesitant about this cd when I heard it was all acoustic. I love Buddys stinging and blistering electric guitar solos, but man oh man is this cd a real blues treat! Buddy Guy is the real deal and he has no problem proving it here! Eric Clapton and BB King lend a hand on "Crawlin' Kingsnake", and Clapton plays on "Lucy Mae Blues" as well. Buddy's vocals are right on and at times make your spine tingle as you really find out here what the blues are all about. Every song on this one is great, my favorites being "Crawlin' Kingsnake", "Moanin' and Groanin'", and "Black Cat Blues". If you love the blues then this cd will definetly put you in blues heaven! Thanks for the great music Buddy!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an essential recording
Buddy Guy has done it again. This recording is simply one of the best I have ever heard and was engineered beautifully. And to make it even more special, B.B. King and Eric Clapton make an appearance. This is an essential Buddy Guy CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues Listener
First of all this CD is the best. It realy doesn't matter that these are covers and not Buddy's usuall style, but it's all good. This is blues as it's ment to be, and also could someone tell me why people call this CD a "Country Blues" CD. If it's acoustic and finger picked it's Delta Blues (like Robert Johnson). Any way most of the lower star reviews say something like this isn't Buddy's style, once again, the songs are good, he does them good, usuall style or not it's still a good CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars Scorching blues
This recording is my favourite blues CD ever. Buddy's voice is smooth, full of emotion and gutsy. The backing is rich and funky. It's personal, cut from the heart.

I imagine it's like having him at your kitchen table and pulling out his guitar...there's not much in the way of production overlaying the acoustic sound.

If you like blues this should form part of your essential collection. ... Read more

3. Not The Same Old Blues Crap II
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Asin: B00005KJ0I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 16960
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars good stuff, lousy title (it's dirt cheap, too)
Actually, this is the same old blues...; the "purists" who run the label either don't know it or won't admit it. This sort of purist nonsense is as old as the music but whenever another generation comes along there's another spasm of it. As for the selections, this is really fine music, as varied as you could possibly want. Even some greasy old soul that somebody probably smokes cigars to while they're swilling beer (just to mention a couple seemingly proscribed activities mentioned in the liner notes). But this label records stuff Alligator never did, right? Way wrong; Hound Dog Taylor was as funky as any of this.

Filter out all the Fat Possum trademark noise and leave that to the college students to whom it matters. This is a very fine collection of blues that any blues fan will thoroughly enjoy. Maybe a slight lean toward the rural and the rocky but so what? ... Read more

4. The Complete Early Recordings of Skip James
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Asin: B000000G8L
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11337
Average Customer Review: 4.65 out of 5 stars
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With an unmistakable falsetto delivery, Skip James created some ofhistory's eeriest blues records. His blues sounds dark and mysterious, using odd tunings, structures, and rhythms, and exploring gloomy lyrical themes. Unlike other bluesmen of the day, James's music was personal and bleak, played for his own emotional release and not for purposes of entertainment."Devil Got My Woman," "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues," "Hard Luck Child," and "Special Rider Blues" convey sorrow and misery like few others can. Uptempo numbers such as the classic "I'm So Glad" and "Drunken Spree," which resembles the hillbilly traditional "Late Last Night," showcase his forceful guitar picking while rags "Little Cow and Calf" and the jumpy "How Long 'Buck'" feature his unique piano work.--Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Chills and enchants
The Martin Scorcese documentary has done blues a real service in foregrounding the aloof and elusive Skip James again. He was a great craftsman and a bracingly honest performer and he speaks to universal emotions effortlessly.

If you like your blues grim hopeless and hard then you need this record. The lyrics and singing here are going to blow you away. If you're partial to classical music, let's say Bach, then you are going to find that Skip James comes as close to a Bach fugue or minuet in terms of overall sophistication in his six string playing as I believe has been done - only instead of trying to educate and delight you, Skip James is trying to "stun" you, as he says in the (excellent) linear notes.

This is heavy stuff, and it isn't for everyone. Prolonged listening may leave you feeling slightly...unbalanced. For me, Skip James was one of the most compelling performers the blues produced. A solo acoustic player (there are a few piano cuts on the record but they are considerably less interesting than the acoustic stuff, in my view) in the style of Robert Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon, Blind Willie McTell, early Dylan, etc., he has moments where he makes them all look like little kids.

Like most early blues recordings, the material and themes can get repititious, and the sound quality isn't all that hot, but there are a lot of quality songs here, and at least half of them are good to pretty good, a few are plain transcendent.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Poetry of the Blues (For Real!)
You often hear the phrase "the poetry of the Blues" used by writers to describe certain artists,and while it's (usually) deserved,the case of Skip James is emphatically POETRY.
The deal is this : his stunning guitar mastery AND that bone-chilling falsetto vocal resulted in some of the most enigmatic and hauntingly beautiful Music (irregardless of Blues,Jazz,or whatever) ever committed to phonograph recordings.
I am a Hot Jazz nut who had this material on an early '70s Biograph LP which had so muffled the surface noise as to be akin to hearing the music over a telephone! The digital mastering here is realistic,-face it,Paramount discs were the dirt-cheapest things made on the market,and surviving 78s are in such poor condition as to be FRAGILE beyond description.Unfortunayely,luck would have it that so much stellar music of the time was waxed for a label like Paramount!
That said,the MUSIC herein is nothing short of brilliant;James deserves his reputation as a haunting and evocative artist,that falsetto singing will send a chill up your spine...try to hear "Devil Got My Woman" without the hairs standing on back of your neck...ditto "Cherry Ball Blues"....and there's the virtuoso guitar piece "I'm So Glad" (apologies to Eric Clapton & Cream but they just couldn't touch the original!) and the spiritual songs are lovely (James struggled with the notion of becoming a deacon at one time).
Along with my Jelly Roll Morton CDs,this music is precious to me and I strongly feel that in the case of THIS cd it is possible to give an unconditional gaurantee of satisfaction....BUY IT TODAY!!!
And this IS poetry here,think of Skip as the Coleridge or Dylan Thomas of the Blues,,,yes,I know that's a tall order but its the Godspeed Truth.I do not undersell Robert Johnson (I have HIS cds as well) But James came first and he deserves your love and attention.
God bless you all.Thanks.

4-0 out of 5 stars Eerie, organic, and ancient.
As many have said, this album is a true blues album. Skip's music is raw and early, and is on "the blues timeline" somewhere between slave songs and the blues/bluegrass that emerged in the early 20th century. His singing and wailing remind me most of some of the John and Ruby Lomax collection (parts of which are online), which include the songs that Moby sampled on his "PLAY" album.

Since the recordings were remastered from 78s, the sound quality isn't fabulous, but I haven't really found it to be a problem. If anything, it adds to the experience and makes it more organic -- you're more aware that what you're listening to is and old recording, in a good way.

Most of the songs on this CD sound very similar. True, they're by the same artist, and this is generally true about collections of work. I just found that with this album in particular, many of the songs have similar sounds (are written in the same or adjacent keys, etc.). For that reason, listening to it a few times through seemed to do it for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars 78 remastered edition, take note
The fidelity on this disc is poor due to it being re-masterd from 78's. If you are interested in the historical aspects of his recordings, this is great. If you want to hear better fidelity, Blues from the Delta may be a better choice. Skip James is fantastic!

2-0 out of 5 stars Too much surface noise
Since this cd was made from old 78s there is alot of surface noise that makes it hard to appreciate the excellent music.Sure it has historical value but the later 60s recordings on Vanguard are just as good if not better musically.With todays audio systems the noise is enhanced.Music 5 stars audio 1 star.Buy at your own risk. ... Read more

5. King of the Delta Blues
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Asin: B000002AI3
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4282
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great, but not unique
Robert Johnson's stuff is terrific, no doubt about it; I've been listening to it for 25 years. But the previous reviewer's claim that it is atypical of country blues is completely off-base. Johnson may have been the greatest of the Delta bluesmen. I happen to think he was, though that's a matter of personal preference. But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that he worked within an established tradition. And that's a matter of fact for anyone with a pair of ears who is willing to listen and learn.

I would recommend that Johnson fans check out the slightly earlier work of bluesmen like Son House, Tommy Johnson and Skip James, to name just three. Moreover, a compilation CD called "The Roots of Robert Johnson" would be a real eye-opener for people who want to understand the origins of Johnson's music.

Isn't it enough for Johnson to be appreciated on his own, real merits? Is it really necessary to make ludricrous claims that he was a total original, at the expense of other wonderful bluesmen from whom Johnson learned? If we want to understand Delta blues and the context of Johnson's work, we need a little less hyperbole and a little more understanding.

4-0 out of 5 stars Just one of dozens of compilations
If I had to pick sixteen out of Robert Johnson's 29 singles, I would end up with pretty much the same ones that Sony has chosen for this collection.
But having said that, I also have to add that there are dozens of Robert Johnson-compilations like this one on the market, and no good reason to get anything other than Columbia's double-disc "The Complete Recordings". And if you really want a single-disc compilation, go for "King Of The Delta Blues Singers", which, although it misses out on a couple of Johnson's best songs, features the most amazing sound you'll ever hear, thanks to a masterful remastering job.

5-0 out of 5 stars Contains The Missing Song
The Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson is technically NOT complete as this recording includes the alternative version of Travelling Riverside Blues which was discovered in the Library of Congress collection making a total of 41 versions of 28 songs. Incidently the "missing song" mentioned in the movie Crossroads was "Mr. Downchild" recorded first on Trumpet Records by Sonny Boy Williamson II and found on King Biscuit Time.
'fessor Mojo

4-0 out of 5 stars In The Beginning...
All the acclaim and legend surrounding this collection is true, and anyone who is interested in American music really should start here.

A word of caution to the uninitiated, though: Robert Johnson did not play the electric blues which are the staple of modern American blues and the roots of Rock n Roll. This is acoustic blues music, solo vocal with (incredible) acoustic guitar accompaniment. It is amazing, amazing stuff--just try to duplicate the guitar parts and you'll understand what a master Johnson was--but don't be looking for rockin' rhythm sections or the big bass sound of later bluesmen.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty good single disc collection
If you must buy a single disc Robert Johnson collection, and not opt for The Complete Recordings, then this is the one to get. This CD is superior to The King of the Delta Blues Singers. Don't be fooled by the similar titles. This one has a much better song selection than the other, containing more of Johnson's most famous classics. It would still be better to get The Complete Recordings which contains all of Johnson's 29 recorded songs plus alternate takes, but this CD is the best single disc collection of Robert Johnson's music currently available. ... Read more

6. King of Delta Blues Singers
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Asin: B00000AG6X
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5019
Average Customer Review: 4.68 out of 5 stars
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If there is a recording that is required listening for every blues fan, it's this one. Robert Johnson wasn't just King of the Delta blues; he was one of its founding fathers, and these re-mastered tunes are as timeless and important today as they were all those years ago. The songs that passed into the blues canon, to be covered by countless guitarists over the years, are here: "Crossroad Blues," "Preaching Blues," "Come On In My Kitchen," "Walking Blues," and more. And on this particular version of this often-reissued recording, there's an additional treat: a previously unreleased version of "Traveling Riverside Blues." Absolutely essential. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blues start here..
Which much anticipation and a little trepidation I decided to pick up "King of the Delta Blues Singers". It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was a nice surprise.

If you're a fan of the modern electric blues, you may be disappointed, as Johnson sang the blues with only his guitar. What he lacks in a backup band, he more than makes up for with a soulful voice, and great guitar playing. You can really hear the emotion pouring out of this man.

If you have an open mind and want to experience where the blues came from, you can't go wrong with this album. The two versions of "Traveling Riverside Blues" are worth the price alone.

On a side note, this could be on my copy only, but on some of the songs there may be a noticeable hissing sound, I guess it's understandable with these classic recordings being so old, and it shouldn't prevent you from enjoying them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Top Influence
Robert Johnson is without doubt the most influential musician of the 20th century. Many of the greatest rock bands of the later century such as Led Zepplin, Aerosmith, The Beatles a more recent the White Stripes my personal favorite the Rolling Stones and many more paid there debt to him. You will still hear some of his lyrics in much of todays music. I recommend this to anyone who listens to rock and/or blues because of how important Robert Johnson is to our music society. The 29 songs on this album are all of the songs Robert Johnson recorded in his short life. I am grateful that this music continues to be produced and that it is appreciated by so many people. For many this could be a new discovery. It has intriuged me since the day i first heard of Robert Johnson in the 1980's movie Crossroads. I rate this album with five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars ALMOST TOO GOOD FOR ME
Please, pardon my unskilled grammar and punctuation (and possibly, spelling).

I bought the Robert Johnson Boxed set years ago, because I felt it was a recording that you were supposed to have, if you considered yourself a true music obsess - o - file, but I later sold it, because I "did not get it." I knew of Johnson's mystique and reputation, but I could not connect with the "genius" thing that surrounded his music. Well, just about a month ago, I thought I would give Robert Johnson another try, so I purchased this album. And this time, "i got it."

I can only describe the multi dimensionality of these songs, which had previously escaped me, as staggering. You feel you are listening to the very architecture of almost every popular music style we hear today. What I find most amazing about his songs, is that you are almost convinced that you are listening to 3 guitar players and 2 or 3 singers, harmonizing with unreal precision. His voice jumps between registers, in such a way as to suggest there is another singer between them, much like one watches "2 frames of a film," but sees the magic of the "1 moving picture."

The relationship between the cords he is playing and the finger picking, again, seem to connect and relate in such a way as to suggest there are more fingers and chords being played than can be played with only 2 hands, and with unbelievable ease. He plays like he doesn't even have to think about it. And it all sounds freakishly "time nonspecific", as if he were playing, in the past, while copying his own sounds, from the present, like they were actually being written and defined today, and he was prophesying. I guess that would be the dictionary definition of "timeless." I find myself stuck between studying his songs from an objective point of view, and listening to them from a music fan point of view.

And his lyrics have a sophistication that belie his level of education. As if you are hearing the equations of very high brow poetry, filled in with the figures and variables of Johnson's substantially more modest and bleak cultural experience. And there is a genuine joy in his voice. THAT, I did not expect. As if he is saying "I CAN PLAY AND I AM BEING RECORDED AND LOWDY, MAMA! I AM A SOMEBODY!"

I naturally have to recommend this recording, but I would advise the newbie to the Johnson sound to, not "force" him or her self to see the brilliance of his work. That was what I was doing the first time around, and I missed it. It was only when I gave it permission to reveal itself, that Johnson's genius came forth.

And in all honesty, I don't really "enjoy" all these songs, as much as I marvel at all these songs. I listen with a distant awe, rather than from the perspective of personal taste. But I hope that over time, I will begin to enjoy this recording as I enjoy many of my favorite modern artists, of today. So, do purchase this album and give Mr. Johnson a go at it, but don't get down on yourself if you don't immediately hear what all the accolades are about. It took me 2 tries and 10 years to "get it."

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing sound
This is the official 1998 CD edition of the first-ever Robert Johnson compilation, issued by Columbia in 1961.
It has been remastered off the best-quality original 78s available, and Johnson's guitar takes on a fullness never heard on previous reissues (the equalization on this disc is extreme to a degree where it even sports some minute turntable rumble in the low end).

I still say that there is no really good reason to buy this CD instead of Columbia's 1990 box set "The Complete Recordings", but if you are looking for a single-disc overview, this one has almost all of Johnson's best songs (with the notable exception of "Sweet Home Chicago" and "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom"), and the sound quality is truly amazing. I have the box set, but I also have this CD, actually. The remastering is that good.

5-0 out of 5 stars superceded by the complete collection
This was the first of two single vinyl albums of Johnson's work reissued by Columbia in the 1960s that brought about the revival. However, for years this has been superceded by the complete collection of his work, the two volumes plus several outakes. Look for this here on Amazon. You will need the complete collection because, not only is it not much more, but once you hear even one track, you will want to hear it all, all of of it. ... Read more

7. The Road We're On
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Asin: B00007JGWD
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13064
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Sonny Landreth's 10-year career as a leader has always seemed tenuous, because he's a one-dimensional singer and only an adequate songwriter. But these 12 numbers run deeper than his previous recordings. Like much of his catalog, they straddle the worlds of blues, Cajun and zydeco, and New Orleans party music, but the blues dominates. And that gives the conflagrant Mississippi-born and Louisiana-raised slide guitarist plenty of fuel. So he burns liberally at every turn, from the acoustic resonator guitar that opens and closes the disc to the percolating funk of "Hell at Home" and the Allmans-like, riff-driven intensity of "Fallin' for You." "A World Away" is this album's tour de force, with Landreth summoning soul from the seldom-used soft side of his voice and slow, moaning guitar lines, whose steel-on-steel cries echo the resigned heartbreak of the lyrics. The CD's sterling production puts Landreth's guitar front and center, which reaffirms the former John Hiatt and Clifton Chenier sideman's instrumental mastery. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a surprise!
I have always recognised that Sonny Landreth is one of the best slide guitarists around. However I have never been a "great" fan of him because I am not too much in "tune" with zydeco or cajun kind of music. I like it but it is not my passion, I prefer to listening to other genders, and the one that I like the best is the "blues". I bought his new CD because I read the above editorial review and apparently it would have been more focused on the "blues" rather than on other stiles. In his previous album "Levee Town" I found a song that from my point of view, or for my taste if you prefer, by it self worth the price of the entire CD: "Broken Hearted Road" a very solid traditional blues played with intensity and passion. As soon as I received the delivery from Amazon I put this record in my CD player with a lot of hope but also with a touch of scepticism. What a surprise! From start to finish this is a great blues collection! Other influences are still present of course, however blues rules this time. The opening track "True Blue" is a masterpiece and it gives you an immediate flavour of what is about to follow. Not bad songs on this CD, no a single one. Sonny shows his ability in playing slide but also "traditional" stile guitar as in the blues-rock oriented title track. Excellent guitar work throughout the entire album, excellent singing, excellent band, excellent mix and production. I can't possibly find a weakness on this CD. I just love it from start to finish. As far as I am aware this is one of the best blues release of at least the last 12 months (and maybe more). I think that we already have, so early in the year, a very serious contender for the "best traditional blues album" award when time will come. I hope that Sonny Landreth will continue following the "road he's on" and that with his next one he will be digging even deeper into the "Blues". I can't rate this CD less than five stars!

5-0 out of 5 stars SONNY IS AWESOME!
We just returned from the Fort Smith Blues Festival after witnessing Sonny Landreth perform. We purchased the Road We're On directly from him. Buy it, buy the others too! If you are a guitar fan, you'll no doubt admire the incredible, magical talent of Sonny Landreth.

He combines blues, cajun zydeco and rock and roll to his OWN unique style.

I've seen many slide guitar players in my life, but Sonny IS the MASTER!

4-0 out of 5 stars Heaven To My Ears
From the first notes of "True Blue" to the last chords of "Juke Box Mama," this release is heaven to my ears. Landreth has always been applauded for his musicianship, but often knocked for his lyrics. He gets them both right this time around.

From up-tempo rockers to slow burning blues, a lot of territory gets covered expertly on these tracks. As always, Landreth displays his chops as one of the best slide guitar players in the business. These tunes are more than guitar theatrics, though. There is more of an emphasis on the big picture. This music is a result of the fine art of song craft.

Lyrically, the mood of each song is enhanced with great metaphors and story telling. On "True Blue" you feel the pain as Landreth sings, "The hurt is pourin' down on you / You got to dig down deep to find / Strength to shelter you through." It is a tale about suffering and finding the strength to move on. "Hell at Home" conveys a little ditty about a domestic disturbance and global warming seems to be the topic of "The Natural World." Of course, there are a few tracks that you just want to crank up and who cares what he is saying! A well-rounded release from this incredible fret burner.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing!
It gets better and better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Astonishing!
Sonny has kicked into high gear with his new release. Remarkable in every way musically. Recording is a little weak...too much overhead mic on the drums and then turned to mush in mastering by listening on a small Genelec monitoring system...Goddess forgive them for they know not what they do. None the less, get this CD and go to Guitar Player Heaven. ... Read more

8. Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live
list price: $9.98
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Asin: B0000025F2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3166
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Released in 1979, this live album is a gem, from the enthusiastic audience (who cheer every line of opener "Mannish Boy") to Muddy Waters's killer guitar to vocals that tease and deliver by turns. The slide work is what to listen for here, especially on "Howling Wolf," where Waters gives any guitar virtuoso a run for his money. There are other special moments as well, including the absolutely killer timing on "She's Nineteen Years Old," the rock-bottom-deep vocals on "Baby Please Don't Go," and the slow sensuality of "Deep Down in Florida." The only shortcoming of this CD is that it's so short: there are only seven songs here, which will leave any listener wanting more. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Muddy was still in command.
Muddy was the man. And this disc proves it. On every single one of the tracks on this disc we hear an older Muddy still in full command of that special sense of timing and vocal control that made his name synonomous with blues. He teases us with a slow, stalling intro to a rocking version of Mannish Boy. He introduces Nineteen Years Old, playing to the crowd: "If she wasn't a young girl I wouldn't be arguing over her. I'm so carried away with young women that I'll kill anyone about one of'em." Highlights like these abound, and live audiences hoot their approval the whole way through. Also of note is some stellar instrumental work. James Cotton blows some searing harp on Nine Below Zero, as does Jerry Portnoy on Baby Please Don't Go. Both Johnny Winter and Pinetop Perkins cut loose on the marathon Deep Down in Florida. And, of course, Muddy displays his usual impressive chops on the slide. Buy this album and put it in your CD player at high volume. The results are electric.

4-0 out of 5 stars Steamy!
This latter-day album gives the listener a chance to hear Muddy Waters playing live with the band that he recorded his 1977 comeback LP, "Hard Again" with.
The musicians include Joe "Pinetop" Perkins, Johnny Winter and harpists James Cotton and Jerry Portnoy, and the crowd greets every song and every solo with enthusiastic response.

Muddy Waters himself plays slide guitar on a couple of tracks, and while his improvisations are more enthusiastic than melodic, the band is generally quite tight, and the highlights include "Mannish Boy", "She's Nineteen Years Old", "Deep Down In Florida", Sonny Boy Williamson's "Nine Below Zero", and a powerful rendition of Big Joe Williams' "Please Don't Go".
The atmosphere is great, and so is the music. Seven tracks is a little on the short side, and the sound isn't quite as three-dimensional as on "Chicago 1979" or "Muddy Waters At Newport" (or the stereo cuts on "Mojo"), but "Muddy 'Mississippi' Waters is nevertheless a really good latter-day Muddy album.
Look out for the expanded 2004 re-release...

5-0 out of 5 stars Vital Mckinnely Morganfeild
If you don't have it please get it just wish it had more live music .

5-0 out of 5 stars MUDDY AT HIS BEST
I picked up this Grammy winning live album (his 3rd of 4 Blue Sky releases) on vinyl after seeing Muddy open for Eric Clapton at the Capital Centre (R.I.P.) on April 26, 1979. After being blown away by this blues legend, it struck me that over half of the audience (which was still straggling in) had missed the best part of the show (and would never know it). As good as Muddy is on record, he is truely in his element on stage. Therefore, I just had to add this live album to my collection. When I upgraded my stereo system, this is one of the first CDs that I purchased. If you like Muddy, you'll love him live.

5-0 out of 5 stars Howlin, Screamin, N' Slidin
What a performance, thank GOD it got recorded! The whole band is at the top of their game, and Muddy just smokes!

Muddy and the audience feed off each other's enthusiasm - making this a very special live recording!

This is nothing short of a MUST HAVE release for the blues fan!

For those of us who never had the chance to see Muddy perform live, this is as close as you can get.

Put it on, turn it up, close your eyes, and ENJOY! ... Read more

9. Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey
list price: $69.98
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Asin: B0000A0VA1
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 2234
Average Customer Review: 4.14 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Full title - Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues - A Musical Journey. Five-CD deluxe boxed set includes a comprehensivecollection of the music from the seven films airing on PBS. A definitive overview of blues, from its earliestrecordings over 80 years ago, to contemporary artists andnew recordings made specifically for The Blues. Music fromthe PBS Series The Blues, executive produced by acclaimedfilmmaker Martin Scorsese. 116 tracks on 5 CDs, plus60-page collector's booklet with stunning photos andilluminating essays. Features introductory essay by MartinScorsese. Gatefold digibox. Hip-O Records. 2003. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent blues primer
This is the "Year of the Blues," and "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues" is as important a contribution as anything I've seen so far in the effort to increase awareness of and appreciation for blues music.

This CD box set is not the soundtrack to the video documentary series. Rather, it is a collection of songs representing the blues through the roughly 80-year history of recorded blues music. While there are some artists who should have been included and weren't, and there are a few selections that are really not appropriate to this collection, overall this is an excellent primer for anyone looking to understand blues music and its evolution.

It would be impossible for any collection to include every artist that is loved by every blues fan. However, most of the truly great and important blues artists are here, including Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Virtually every style of blues is also represented here, from the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans to Texas to Memphis to Chicago and even to Africa. And contrary to the assertions of some previously-posted critiques, the Piedmont style IS represented with Mississippi John Hurt's "Frankie." (While Hurt did not live in the Piedmont Valley area, he was nevertheless one of the most important Piedmont stylists in blues guitar history.)

I do disagree with the inclusion of a few artists whom I do not consider to be blues musicians, such as Jeff Beck and Los Lobos. (Jeff Beck is undeniably a brilliant guitarist, but he is not a blues guitarist.) The absolute worst song in the set is Peggy Scott-Adams' "Bill," a terrible song about a woman who discovers her husband in bed with his gay lover. Aside from the fact that the song is just plain awful, it is also not a blues song. I wonder who was paid off to have it included.

There are also a few omissions of important blues artists. Lightnin' Hopkins was one of the most important blues musicians of the 1950s and '60s but was not included. Little Richard was every bit as important to the creation of rock & roll as Fats Domino and Chuck Berry but is not represented. The omission of Dr. John, perhaps the most important blues pianist of the modern era, is inexplicable. More modern accoustic guitarists like John Hammond, Jr. and the incredible Rory Block should have been included (although the newly-recorded Keb' Mo'/Corey Harris cover of Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago" was almost worth the cost of the box set alone). And if Scorsese wanted a representation of blues-influenced Latino music, Carlos Santana would have been more appropriate than Los Lobos.

Notwithstanding a few flaws, however, this CD box set is an excellent representation of recorded blues history, covering the entire history of the blues and including most of the important artists and styles of this wonderful musical genre. I highly recommend it to anyone who is either desiring to learn about the blues or who is already a blues fan and is simply looking for a good thorough collection of great blues music.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent material representing the entire blues genre!
This is the "comeback year" for the blues and "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues" as good as good if not better than all blues cds so far. This is really a contribution as anything we've seen so far in the effort to increase awareness of and appreciation for blues music.

The best part is that it's personalized from Scorsese's own liking. People might agree the Rolling Stones should have been included, for instance, but this 116 song piece is not a "best-of the blues". It's more of Martin Scorsese's perspective of what the blues has achieved for America and beyond.

This CD box set is not the soundtrack to the video documentary series. Rather, it is a collection of songs representing the blues through the roughly 80-year history of recorded blues music. This is an excellent primer for anyone looking to understand blues music and its evolution.

It would be impossible for any collection to include every artist that is loved by every blues fan. However, most of the truly great and important blues artists are here, including Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf, Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Virtually every style of blues is also represented here, from the Mississippi Delta to New Orleans to Texas to Memphis to Chicago and even to Africa. And contrary to the assertions of some previously-posted critiques, the Piedmont style IS represented with Mississippi John Hurt's "Frankie." Also, Luther Allison and Johnny Winter ARE included also.

There are also a few omissions of important blues artists. Lightnin' Hopkins was one of the most important blues musicians of the 1950s and '60s but was not included. Little Richard was every bit as important to the creation of rock & roll as Fats Domino and Chuck Berry but is not represented. The omission of Dr. John, perhaps the most important blues pianist of the modern era, is near as bad as leaving out the Rolling Stones and their massive love for the blues. More modern accoustic guitarists like John Hammond, Jr. and the incredible Rory Block should have been included (although the newly-recorded Keb' Mo'/Corey Harris cover of Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago" was almost worth the cost of the box set alone). And if Scorsese wanted a representation of blues-influenced Latino music, Carlos Santana would have been more appropriate than Los Lobos.

Notwithstanding a few flaws, however, this CD box set is an excellent representation of recorded blues history, covering the entire history of the blues and including most of the important artists and styles of this wonderful musical genre.

Scorsese does a great job with the layout of the entire 5 disc set. Included is a color print book with song by song explanations co-written by a Grammy Award winning music writer, and many pages portraying blues from the very beginning(1830's) to today. I highly recommend it to anyone who desires learning about the blues, or a fan simply looking for a good thorough collection of great blues music.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not just for the newcomer
This is a box set of 20th Century American music, not the Old Testament! Let the ethnomusicologist completist academic blathering heads debate the merits of inclusion and exclusion - just enjoy the tunes. This is worth it just to have discs for your New Year's Party. Sure Janis was an execrable no-talent and Disc 5 should've been made up entirely of Robert Pete Williams. That guy is so deep blues that I sleep with a kinfe when I listen to him at night! But what is a fellow to do?

5-0 out of 5 stars The Blues
Martin Scosese Presents
The Blues
A Musical Journey

Have you ever known someone that was interested in exploring blues music and came to you asking you for advice on which artists and recordings to start with? If this is a familiar scenario to you and you have made lists as long as your arm of artists and recordings that you hope will steer them on the right path of bluesdom, next time just recommend (or better still hand them) Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues, A Musical Journey (Hip-O Records), the five disc soundtrack to the documentary series that recently aired on PBS. This boxed set is handsomely packaged with a highly informative sixty page booklet that gives you a brief insight into every artist on the discs, along with a break down of every musician playing on each track and a great essay by noted writer Tom Piazza. This truly is a musical journey through the blues, containing over 117 tunes by almost as many artists, beautifully remastered to perfection so that even the oldest of recordings sound like they were cut yesterday. The names and tunes are way too long to list in their entirety but I'll try my best to give an overall and hopefully brief (this I gotta see) overview of each disc's highlights, otherwise this review will run longer than the last Presidential address. Disc One focuses primarily on the blues' entry and acceptance into the musical mainstream of the roaring 20's up to 1930. Oddly enough the disc's opening number "Shortnin" by Othar Turner and The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band is the only one not recorded during that period but serves as a portrait into the roots of the genre and is followed up by a field recording from the Alan Lomax Collection entitled "Long John," which is performed by a group of convicts on a state prison farm in Texas. The first real stars of the blues were women and they are represented by both Smiths, Mamie and Bessie, performing the classics "Crazy Blues," & "Muddy Water," respectively along with Ma Rainey's "Ma' Rainey's Black Bottom," which is probably musical history's first suggestive title. The rest of Disc One reads like a virtual who's who of legends and classic numbers such as:Frank Stokes' "Downtown Blues," Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Match Box Blues", Blind Willie McTells' "Statesboro Blues", Lonnie Johnson's "Guitar Blues" and Son House's "Preachin The Blues." One of the blues' greatest folk tales in the form of Mr. Skip James, who took thirty years off and persued a career in the ministry after his records did not sell well during the early days of the depression opens Disc Two. Considered by many to be a genuis of the early blues, his "Devil Got My Woman," represents that to the fullest extent and is followed by a pair of ultra classics, Leadbelly's "C.C. Rider," & Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go." Disc Two continues its journey through the 1930's with The Lady Day crooning "Billie's Blues," Robert Johnson picking out "Cross Road Blues," and the original Sonny Boy Williamson blasting his way through through his immortal "Good Morning Little School Girl." Halfway through Disc Two we switch decades and are treated to such gems of the 1940's like, Big Bill Broonzy's "Key To The Highway," Tommy McClennon's "Cross Cut Saw," Wynnonie Harris' "Good Rockin Tonight," Louis Jordan's "Let The Good Times Roll," and T-Bone Walker's timeless "Call It Stormy Monday." The 1950's saw the blues enjoy its biggest boom in commercial acceptance and Disc Three is filled to the brim with some of the most memorable and influential tunes that the blues and its artists ever produced. Memphis Slims "Mother Earth,"Percy Mayfield's "Send Me Somone To Love," Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88," and Elmore James' "Dust My Broom," start off Disc Three with a four punch combination that will rock you back on your heels before sending you to the canvas with Little Walter's,"Juke,". This particular disc illustrates the blues giving birth to its baby that they called rock & roll, with Big Mama Thornton's original version of "Hound Dog," (Big Mama made all of about five hundred dollars off this recording and died pretty much broke while some truck driver from Memphis made millions with the same tune, go figure!) Smiley Lewis' "I Hear You Knockin," Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love," Fats Dominoe's "Blue Monday," and the timeless rock & roll anthem, Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." Also included on Disc Three are classics like The Wolf's "Smokestack Lightnin," Muddy's "Hoochie Coochie Man," Bobby Bland's "Further On Up The Road," and Sonny Boy Wialliamson's (Rice Miller) Don't Start Me To Talkin." Disc Four gives us an intricate look at the state of the blues in the 1960's and the influence that it had on both American and British rock artists who were weaned on the tunes of the masters. The Jeff Beck Group's cover of Willie Dixon's "Ain't Superstitious," features a very young Rod Stewart on lead vocals while John Mayall's Bluesbreakers cover of "All Your Love," has a young Eric Clapton playing lead. Fleetwood Mac (gee did they once play the blues?) turns in a crushing version of "Black Magic Woman," with the twin guitars of Jeremy Spencer & Peter Green. Meanwhile back on home soil Bob Dylan tears through "Highway 61 Revisted," while Hendrix converts legions of rock & rollers with "Red House," and Janis Joplin and The Butterfield Blues Band do the same with "One Good Man," and "I've Got A Mind To Give Up Livin," respectively. While the rock genre was enlightening a new generation, John Lee Hooker recorded "Boom Boom," Albert Collins cut "Frosty," and Junior Wells released his signature "Hoodoo Man Blues." Etta James' "Tell Mama," turned a few heads and a new female singer by the name of Koko Taylor who was discovered by Willie Dixon raised a few million eyebrows with "Wang Dang Doodle." The 60's were a turbulent time for America and the impact that the blues made during that period is still being felt today throughout rock & roll. Disc Five begins in 1969 with B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," and closes with the recently recorded acoustic duet of Corey Harris & Keb Mo doing the prettiest cover of "Sweet Home Chicago," that it's been my pleasure to hear in quite some time. In between these two classic numbers, the 70's,80's 90's right up to present day is represented by a wide spectrum of artists and styles whose music has forever effected the blues' direction. Johnny Winter's "Dallas," Derek and The Dominoes' "Have You Ever Loved a Woman," The Alman Bothers "One Way Out," and Hound Dog Taylors' "Give me Back My Wig," represent the 70's which pretty much was dominated by hard rock and is considered one of the toughest decades for post WWII blues. But, being as hard times is what the genre founded its roots in, the blues treaded water in a swirling sea of hard rock and disco. The 80's are represented by a young man who is credited with kicking the music industry in its ass and making them take the blues seriously again, Mr. Stevie Ray Vaughn. One of his best tunes "Pride and Joy,"is included here along with big brother Jimmie Vaughn's band,The Fabulous Thunderbirds' "Tuff Enough." Also from the 80's is Robert Cray's "Smoking Gun," and a duet of "I'm In the Mood," between John Lee Hooker & Bonnie Raitt from his monumentous The Healer album. The 90's get a well rounded look with Luther Allison's "Cherry Red Wine," Peggy Scott Adam's "Bill," (which is a totally new spin on the old cheating lover scenario) Keb Mo's "Am I Wrong," and Susan Tedeschi's "Just Won't Burn." Three other recent recordings in addition to "Sweet Home Chicago," are included with the best being the live duet between Robert Cray and Shemeika Copeland exploding on "I Pity The Fool." Cassandra Wilson's gorgeous voice gives new meaning to J.B. Lenoir's "Vietnam Blues," while Bonnie Raitt does ample justice to his "Round & Round," and Los Lobos does the same to his "Voodoo Music." This is the end of the journey blues fans. Well for now anyway. You can sort of look at this set as one hell of a roadmap to one of the best musical journeys you can possibly make with the rest of the journey being all around you as you read this. This is probably the best chronological record ever assembled of the music that changed the face of American music forever as the selections both mentioned and not mentioned in this review are the best of the best. Alot of you may already have a great deal of these recordings that are included here in some form or another, but it's the combination of the choice of selections and the remastering that make this package a must for every blues fan whether they are just learning about the blues or are already lifelong fans. Being a five disc set can mean it can be a bit on the pricey side, but I found it for around forty eight dollars at a couple of membership warehouse stores and it was worth every cent. With the holidays approaching it would make a completely awesome gift for the blueslover in your life or perhaps even yourself. This is one journey you will want to take several times.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Best Blues Collection?... Hardly....
I don't claim to be a Blues expert by any means, who is? ...but this collection could have been something really special if more of the unknown artists from the past and present were included here. Yeah, we all know about Jimi, Stevie Ray, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, etc. Why do we need to have them represented here again? Some of the newer artists included here hardly earned their dues and a few others shouldn't even be on this recording at all. Oh well..., what can you say except that life isn't fair which is what the blues is all about anyway. That doesn't mean you need to accept this collection as the blues gospel by any means! Where's the Junior Kimbrough and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown? Where's the Luther Allison and James Solberg? I can go on and ask why but what sense would that make? Anyone who wants to own one of the best unknown ripping guitar, whiskey soaked vocals, ultra cool organ & rhythm tight CD's ever, buy James Solbergs "See that my grave is kept clean". If you want something really special, buy anything by Junior Kimbrough. If you want something that we've all heard before with a lot of it being mediocre then buy Mr. Scorsese Presents the Blues. Otherwise, check out the web sites for Shanachie Entertainment, Alligator Records, Blind Pig, Rounder/Bulls Eye Blues, Blues Bureau International/Shrapnel for links into the real blues crossroads where past and future meet head on! Oh yeah, let's not forget about Johnny Winter and Rory Gallagher either!! ... Read more

10. Not the Same Old Blues Crap
list price: $4.98
our price: $4.98
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Asin: B0000061VH
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 42988
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Meet The Resurrection Of The Blues - Cheap!
Fat Possum - pace the first guest reviewer - isn't the band, it's the label, which houses perhaps the most important bluesmen to have emerged in the art in an extremely long time. Mostly from north Mississippi, all of whom have at least the attitude and the drive of that region's weave between hypnotic and heartpunch soul dance blues. If you've happened upon any of these artists's discs and been tempted but leery to try them, pick up this cheap sampler, listen closely, and be prepared to learn all over again that the blues didn't begin and end with a certain long tall Texan who couldn't make up his mind whether he wanted to be Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Albert King, or all the above when he grew up. Nor does it belong exclusively (if at all) to a trio of hotshot young shredders using the blues as a launching pad for continuing wild, techincally brilliant, musically wanting guitar pyrotechnics. At long last there are some who remember what the blues is REALLY all about, and they mostly take the form of these aging gentlemen (some of whom hadn't recorded until they'd hit their 60s, at least) to show how it can be done. Make that, how it should be done - raw, rippling, deep, and exuberantly soulful. This is the best bargain in music in years.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not your father's blues
I bought this CD from Amazon because it was shockingly inexpensive and I wanted to pad out an order. I wasn't expecting great things; I hoped merely that I hadn't wasted the meager amount of money I'd spend. Boy, was I happy when I finally played this. This is great!

The blues. A genre which can communicate untold pain, depthless heartache and a universe of suffering. Or it can encompass songs like "Crack Whore Blues", which is exactly what you would expect it to be from the title. The tracks on here are vibrant and alive. This is wonderfully thrilling, foot-tapping stuff that can be serious on the few occasions that it wants to be.

Since this is a sampler compilation containing disparate artists, it's difficult to sum up this album in a few paragraphs. We go all the way from rompy throwaway musical jokes right into genuinely soulful lyrics. But the one constant is quality. What many of the performers lack in technical ability, they more than make up for in enthusiasm. This is a release from a tiny record label with no terribly big names, which goes a long way towards explaining the emotion.

The liner notes are absolutely hideous -- green text written on a purple background. It makes my eyes water just thinking about it. There's also a funny gag on the back, which I shall not spoil here.

As a sampler, the idea is to throw as much onto the disc as possible and hope that the customer likes at least one or two selections enough to purchase a full album. They've convinced me; I have some shopping to do. Anyone with even a passing interest in the blues should pick up this one. You can do it without breaking the bank, and, unless you're familiar with the artists already, you'll be hearing the blues like you haven't quite heard them before.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nicely off-mainline
I'm a fan of Mr. Burnside, so getting this was easy, and enjoying it easier even. This is not revolutionary music by any means, but it is refreshingly wild and iconoclastic. Get it, it is fun

1-0 out of 5 stars Just plain crap
As a long time blues fan and blues musician I have heard lots of blues, but rarely have I heard a steaming pile of unlistenable rubbish like this collection.As if the back cover art of some old fool wearing a nazi hat, smoking a plastic cigar and wearing a dog collar wasn't warning enough- the front cover art of someone wearing a gas mask should have been. Perhaps he got a whiff of the contents of this cd. Even at [price] it is grossly over-priced.

5-0 out of 5 stars The real stuff
I got this completly on impulse. The title and cover art was too much to pass up. If you like your blues raw and real, buy this CD. There are a couple of uninspired tracks but the good ones carry it overall. R.L. Burnside is as real as it gets! ... Read more

11. The Best Of Friends
list price: $16.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00000DCER
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 16261
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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The premise behind this compilation is somewhat unusual: classic tracks, yes, but classic tracks recorded by John Lee Hooker... and friends. Charles Brown, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, Los Lobos, and Bonnie Raitt are only some of the performers who appear here, and the tracks, selected from recordings made by the prolific guitarist since 1988, show that Hooker hasn't lost his touch. Among the highlights, there's a smokin' duet with Raitt on "I'm in the Mood," a rendition of "Boom Boom" with a guest appearance from Jimmie Vaughan, and a reprise of Hooker's 1956 hit "Dimples" with Los Lobos backing up. Mention must also be made of the lone solo track on this CD, the acoustic "Tupelo," which hearkens to Hooker's Delta blues roots. There are also three previously unreleased tracks, which are probably the real reason to get this compilation. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply said, this album is a must-have for all Hooker fans.
Blues fans will be pleasantly surprised by this recording pairing the master himself with some of the finest musicians alive today. Special mention should be made of "I Cover the Waterfront" and "Don't Look Back" which feature the soulful voice and guitar of Van Morrison, as well as the familiar touch of Carlos Santana in "The Healer". Last, but certainly not least, adorers of Bonnie Raitt will love the playful duet she and Hooker provide in "I'm in the Mood".

BUY THIS CD, lower the lights, crank up the volume, and be swept away. You won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A bluesmaster!
The photos of John Lee Hooker,at the booklet inside this cd,show us how old is this man,but no doubtly,his musics are still one of the most beautiful things at the modern blues. This album is marvellous in all the ways.The participation of artists such,Bonnie Raitt,Van Morrison,Ben Harper,Eric a great gift for John Lee Hooker,and all of the bluesfans! The voice of John Lee,is pure,fantastic,and .... eternally!

3-0 out of 5 stars "Blues"
This 1998 compilation draws from John Lee Hooker's guest star-heavy Virgin/Point Blank albums, mostly ignoring the solid Hooker-songs in favour of the attention-grabbing, star-studded duets featuring Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, Los Lobos (!) etc.

Almost all the duets from "The Healer", "Boom Boom" and "Mr Lucky" are here, the good one ("I Cover The Waterfront" with Van Morrison) and all the mediocre ones.
John Lee Hooker's original versions of these songs are almost all significantly better than these overblown re-recordings, which means (as Stephen Thomas Erlewine said in his review) that this disc is primarily for listeners who like to think they like Hooker, but really just want to hear Eric Clapton wail away.

5-0 out of 5 stars Super CD
Absolutely a gem no doubt about it. You will not go wrong with this cd.

5-0 out of 5 stars Some Blues Greatness Here
If you love the electric blues and blues slide guitar, this is a must-have album for your collection. Many of the songs are instantly recognizable blues patterns that have set the style for generations of blues and rock superstars. John Lee Hooker is on a par with B.B. King, Robert Johnson and other classic great blues artists. The repertoire of session musicians from the likes of Carlos Santana, Jimmy Vaughn, Bonnie Raitt, and Eric Clapton are not to be missed. John Lee Hooker set a blues standard - get this album. ... Read more

12. Complete Collection
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Asin: B00000JZXJ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 29501
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ever get the phonograph blues?
What can anyone say about Robert Johnson that hasn't already been stated? The music he left us just has that feel of someone who has traveled the humid shadows of the early twentieth century, checked into every dive hotel and motel across the Bible belt, stomped his feet in more than a few juke joints, courted the devil and let everyone know about it, smoked a few cigarettes, drank his share of bottled magic and sadness, tasted love and was bitten more than once. The more you listen, the more your imagination is sparked.

This particular collection showcases the 29 songs he recorded - minus the variations. If you are a casual listener, this is a marvelous retrospective of the music. If you are more of a completist, then the critically acclaimed box set is what you want. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the blues - in all its various styles. A few things I like are R.L. BURNSIDE - TOO BAD JIM, JIMI HENDRIX - BLUES and various things from MUDDY WATERS, SON HOUSE and HUDDIE LEDBETTER.

A quote from the CD liner notes by Tony Watts:
"If details of Robert Johnson's life are shadowy, there is nothing at all indistinct about his music which is full of the most elemental power imaginable. Obviously a driven man, he attempted to exorcise his demons through the medium of his songs..."

I sometimes wonder if it's because this guy left so few facts about his life behind, that his music becomes that much better? The popular story of his life's end is he was poisoned by a jealous husband he had cuckolded, and then buried in an unmarked grave after midnight. The king is gone but he's not forgotten: Does the mystery and drama of his short life actually float the music, add to its potency and make it transcendent above what it actually is? My recommendation is to take a listen for yourself. For whatever the reason, I can't stop listening to this collection of great songs. Personal favorites are - HELLHOUND ON MY TRAIL, MALTED MILK, LITTLE QUEEN OF SPADES, IF I HAD POSESSION OVER JUDGEMENT DAY, FROM FOUR 'TIL LATE and STOP BREAKIN' DOWN BLUES.

Enjoy. ... Read more

13. Prison Songs (Historical Recordings From Parchman Farm 1947-48), Vol. 1: Murderous Home
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Asin: B0000002UV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 28198
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Real Gangstas, Role Models, and Elvis Presley
This disc (as well as its companion, "Vol. 2: Dont'cha Hear Poor Mother Calling?") is perhaps some of the most beautiful and honest recordings of human expression you'll ever hear. Modern music has nothing on this stuff; it's the real deal. This is music that was created to get you through the day; not to sell records or to score chicks. This is as anti-commercial, and therefore, as antiestablishment as you can get. Truly alternative. And it is, in a word, spellbinding.
The greatest beauty of, not only the songs, but culture that spawned them and the men who sang them as well, is the burning human spirit that inhabits each and every track on this record. Nowhere is there a mention of giving up or losing hope. These songs are optimistic in the the purest sense and prideful in the best way. One can't help but wonder how - in a place where you could get six months on the chain gang for standing on a street corner, or five years for stealing a loaf of bread - these men managed to remain so hopeful? How could they stay so proud and sing so true, with so much life, while they were being worked to death every day, from dawn until dusk, under the blazing, hot sun with nothing but a little bread and water to keep them going? These men must have had an amazing inner strength and a strong system of values to get through it. Or, if not that, at they very least, they had to have possessed an unimaginable amount of pride and dignity in themselves to not to be broken down by their captors and the brutal Jim Crow penal system under which they were railroaded.
Thinking of that and listening to this disc, I was reminded of something I heard Wynton Marsalis say in an interview with David Frost. When asked what he thought of Rap music, Wynton said that, "Rap, because of it's sense of nihilism, represents the ultimate triumph of the white man over the black man..." Nowhere, he claimed, in the history of African-American creative expression do you find that sense of nihilism that you do in Rock & Roll. That was something that found its way into black culture after Elvis took off. So if Rock music was, and still is, a white manifestation of the Blues and R&B with a Dionysian sense of self-destruction, then the rebellious posturing and devil-may-care swagger of today's gun-toting "Gangsta" archetype is something that was adopted from white culture. Does this sound far fetched? Not if one looks at white popular culture from the fifties. Take, for example, "Rebel Without a Cause" or "The Wild One" where disenfranchised white kids, juiced up on hormones, drag race down the road, not at all concerned that somebody might crash or fly off a cliff. Where do these ideas play out in pre-fifties African-American culture? They don't. Because they don't exist. Could you ever imagine Duke Ellington, in his top hat and tails, kicking over his piano bench the way Jerry Lee Lewis did on the Steve Allen Show? Never in a million years. This sense of nihilism was introduced into the mix by white guys like James Dean, Marlon Brando, Gene Vincent, and Eddie Cochran; it was later elevated to a fine art by the likes of Keith Richards, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison before it was co-opted by latter day Rap performers.
To be sure, there is no sense of nihilism on this disc. And for that reason, the singers on "Murderous Home" (and "Dont'cha Hear Poor Mother Calling?") should be held up as role models to countless disenfranchised young people out there who have no faith in the system. The men here didn't let the system get the better of them; they didn't let the institution turn them sour; they didn't let the institution turn them on themselves. The guys on this disc are the original "Gangstas." True rebels, defiant in a time long before being an outsider was bottled up, made cool, and sold to us in the form of Rock & Roll...long before the advertisers taught us how to be self-destructive...and long before rap videos made that sense of self-destruction sexy to suburban kids.
It's interesting to note that in spite of all the positive spirit in these songs, when Alan Lomax returned to Parchman just a few years later, the younger convicts refused to sing them. They saw the songs as old-fashioned and thought singing them would be "Uncle Tomming." Ironically, of course, this was in the fifties...after Rock & Roll.
How sad then, that these songs were forgotten by African-Americans. Because what got left behind was a guiding voice. A voice that was so poetic, beautiful and honest in its heroic strength and language and so steadfast in its conviction and principle and so completely true to itself that no rapper out there today comes anywhere close to equaling its defiance. But, perhaps the worst thing of all...the saddest of thing that a genuine dignity was lost. A dignity that could have been a navigational beacon...a roadmap to the high road...forsaken and cast aside...and, ultimately, all because a good-looking white boy from Memphis shook his hips on a thing called television.

5-0 out of 5 stars DEEP
I really had no idea what i was in store for. But for those who love black, southern and prison history, spirituals, and are thirsting for music in its purest form, buy this CD!!! It has wonderful chants, commentary from Lomax, narrative from the inmatesand even clanking from the axes. You can hear the suffering and longing in their voices. You can hear the humor in may of the lyrics. Be sure to read the booklet so that you can get a clearer understanding of it all. It is a wonderful piece of recorded history. you may also want to buy the book Worse than Slavery, by Oshinsky so that you can get greater sense of exactly waht they are thinking about. One more thing..You will totally feel the energy of 22.

4-0 out of 5 stars Incredibly powerful music
I was blown away when I listened to this CD for the first time. The recording is great. I didn't expect too much due to the time frame of the recording, but the quality is impressive. I bought this hoping to find more tracks like "Po' Lazarus" from the "O' Brother Where Art Thou" Soundtrack. What I got was much more.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great documents of American music.
Words fail to describe this incredibly powerful album. I've had a copy since the 60's, and still have an unopened LP copy in my "vault" (along with the first Roberty Johnson LP). Luckily, I don't have to describe the power of the music - you can click on the samples, and hear for yourself.

Reams of praise have been heaped on this album, and every word has been an understatement.

If you have any interest whatever in American folk music or in blues or jazz, you either have a copy of this or should get one. This is the absolute peak of Lomax's years of collecting.

Incredibly clean sound for the 40's, all well recorded, musically superb pieces, each a perfect gem of its kind, preserving some of the oldest and best of American music, done by some of the finest singers you've never heard of.

You will listen to this again and again. ... Read more

14. A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
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Asin: B0000036WR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14509
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Recorded in one afternoon in the Holly Springs, Mississippi, hometown of 69-year-old blues great R.L. Burnside, A Ass Pocket of Whiskey documents a single noisy, spirited session with Burnside, his sideman Kenny Brown, and the punk-bred blues reconstructionist trio called the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The pairing of JSBE, led by a white Ivy League dropout turned downtown New York scuz who poses as a hard-living blues rocker, and R.L. Burnside, the last of the real down-home badass bluesmen of the Mississippi hills, is strange--perhaps sacrilege to blues purists--but oddly appropriate. And the moments of pure musical chaos caught on this record--both cross-cultural and cross-generational--sound entirely within the realm of both acts.With its unorthodox accompaniment (including wheezy theremin and Spencer's trademark shouts), the album is probably not the most fitting introduction to Burnside. But as the oldest man ever to record for the hip indie-rockers at Matador, no doubt he gladly sacrificed juke-joint obscurity for the chance to appear on MTV's 120 Minutes. --Roni Sarig ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Why don't More people my age listen to this stuff?
First of all I'm only 15 and I am a huge blues fan (talk about Weird) and I Just can't under stand why more people me age arn't into this stuff (Especially Burnside, and this album). Especially since this album isn't really a true blues album (it is catagorized under Rock). Plus it has all the searring guitar tones crued lyrics and raw energy that makes this perfect for kids my age. The're all stuck on the System of a Down and Metallica crap, they just say I must not Know what rock is or something. But really, this is every bit as raw and nasty as the music they listen to. And much, much, much more intresting than all that power cord crap. This album puts bands like System of a Down and Metallica to utter shame!! SO PLEASE, IF YOU ARE MY AGE AND YOU LIKE ROCK GET THIS ALBUM YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Here's to R. L. Burnside!
I have only recently started to listen to r.l., but he is quickly becoming one of my favourite bluesmen. Although I don't particularly like the JSBE by themselves, somehow this album really works, with the raw energy they add to burnside's traditional blues style. This album grows on me more and more every time I listen to it. Friends of mine who don't like blues very much seem to love this album. Keep up the good work.

4-0 out of 5 stars R.L. Got Soul!
I'm a fan of R.L. Burnside. I'm a fan of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I will admit that Jon can be over the top sometimes. Heck, over the top and around the next bend. I don't know if his "pants on fire" blues shouter persona would appeal to everyone. Personally, I just think he's a lot of fun. One thing's for sure, JSBE add some firepower to the down and dirty style of perhaps the greatest living Mississippi hill country blues musician. R.L. will drink your liquor, mess with your wife and point a gun at your head. All in the same evening. This album will having you movin and groovin before your brain even knows what hit you. If it doesn't, check your pulse!

5-0 out of 5 stars R.L.'s Experiences go on...
What we can say about this experiences of R.L. and other new musicians of our times??Fantastic!! I'm a bluesfan,and i really know something about the history of the blues,his influences,his hard way to become a rythm recognized all over the world.Here in Brazil we are really tasting a same experience with funk music that took all the places,all of the social slices,and this musical style as the blues,come from the underground,at U.S.,they called ghettos,here we call the "favelas(slumbers)"and whatever the funk musics goes,they causes a chaos,discrimination attitudes from a great part of people,etc...etc.. But what we cannot forget is the capacity of this kind of music,to transformate,influenciate,a great number of members of this new generation!And what R.L. did is to recognizes this influences of modern styles and put it together with our great blues,to create a new kind of music that is,undoubtedly a phenomen!!! We are in front of perhaps,one of the great bluesman of ever!!! This man is teaching how we must do,to be in tune with the musical modern tendences of the New Era!!! Great cd,of a great bluesman of the past and new millenium!!!!!!

3-0 out of 5 stars a half-empty pocket
I must unfortunately add to the low buzz of listeners who believe that JS detracts from this record. On their own, the JSBE is a mildly charming amalgamation worthy of a listen. And their riffing behind RL isn't without some merit - the guitar tones are what they should be. But John's shouting and hollaring get in your way like a drunk in the next row at the Super Bowl. Anything RL does qualifies as an essential purchase but when you add the fact that RL isn't making any money off this record (it never trickles down from Matador), this qualifies as the least essential of all. ... Read more

15. The Chess Box
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Asin: B000002P8I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 17363
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Best known for his work as a songwriter, producer, and talent scout, singer-bassist Willie Dixon essentially built Chicago's Cobra and Chess labels with his sweat. Although this double-disc set does include five performances by the man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, himself, it's really a testament to his songwriting prowess, packed with recordings that made his tunes classics of blues and early rock & roll. There's Howlin' Wolf tearing through "Spoonful," "Little Red Rooster," "Evil," and "Back Door Man." There's Muddy Waters belting "You Shook Me," "Hoochie Coochie Man," and "I'm Ready." There's Bo Diddley delivering "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" and Koko Taylor launching her career with "Wang Dang Doodle." The set features excellent liner notes, and its only disappointment is that its label-centricity excludes Dixon's work for Cobra with then-youngsters Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars New to the Blues start Here
Willie Dixon was the Driving force behind Chess records from putting pen to paper writing the music to teaching Howlin'Wolf the words to the music ...This boxed set is the sound of 1950's Blues

4-0 out of 5 stars Exciting addition to the "Chess Box" series
Willie Dixon is the featured performer on only six of these thirty-six songs. But he is there on the rest as well, composing, producing, playing bass, and usually taking a back seat to stars like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter and Bo Diddley.

All of these songs are written and composed or co-composed by Willie Dixon, including classic blues hits like Little Walter's "My Babe", Bo Diddley's "Pretty Thing", Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man", and Howlin' Wolf's magnificent "Hidden Charms" with its fiery guitar solo.

But there are many other superb songs here as well, including lesser-known tracks like the delightful jazzy number "Violent Love", performed by Dixon, guitarist Ollie Crawford, and pianist Leonard Caston, and Dixon's own performance of the catchy "29 Ways".
Eddie Boyd's "Third Degree" is here too, co-written by Dixon, and from Howlin' Wolf's incredible catalogue comes "Evil", along with "I Ain't Superstitious", and "Little Red Rooster".
Little Milton performs "I Can't Quit You Baby" (usually associated with Otis Rush), Willie Mabon contributes the excellent "Seventh Son", and Muddy Waters' "I Just Want To Make Love To You" ranks among the highlights as well, as do Little Walter's rendition of "Dead Presidents" and Jimmy Witherspoon's take on "When The Lights Go Out".
Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) usually composed his own songs, but he pops up as well, doing Willie Dixon's "Bring It On Home".

Willie Dixon's "Chess Box" is a great collection of 50s and 60s blues, proving if proof was needed that Dixon deserves his place alongside the greats of Chess Records, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Rice Miller.
Furthemore, the sound is impeccable, and this fine set includes a well-illustrated and annotated booklet.

4 1/2 stars - highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Chess Box Set Willie Dixon
Willie has a CD out that the title is " I am the Blues"
yes he is and this box set shows just's all here From Willie and the Big three back in the late 30's to little Walter Koko Taylor to Howlin' Wolf

5-0 out of 5 stars Willie Dixon - Author of the Urban Blues
Willie Dixon was a blues singer, bass player, song writer, promoter, producer, and much more. This box set has only a few songs sung by Willie, but that is probably appropriate, because one of his greatest gifts was to write the words that helped make others legends. Beyond the world of the blues, Willie was, and is, a muse for rock musicians. His songs such as "Spoonful," "Evil" and "I'm ready" are classics in both generes.

In this set all of the the performers are blues singers. Legemds such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Witherspoon and Koko Taylor and many more. This is a wonderful set, I highly recommend it. Enjoy classics as "Seventh Son," "Mellow Down Easy," "Walkin' the Blues," "Little Red Rooster" and "Back Door Man." Listen and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dixon IS The Blues On The Essential 2CD "Chess Box"
Willie Dixon gave the blues (and, by proxy, rock and roll) much of its identity and personality. As a songwriter, he created some of music's most indelible images: the Back Door Man, Little Red Rooster, Hootchie Coochie Man, and Seventh Son. He not only gave British and Southern rock and roll much of its early repetoire, but his songs became their monikers ("Spoonful," "Pretty Thing"). He played bass on many seminal Chess Records sides (for Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry), and himself recorded several first-class singles.

Chess celebrates Dixon's legacy on the 2-disc "Chess Box," and hearing these original versions is a revelation after exposure for years to their classic rock covers. Hear Waters' "You Need Love," and "You Shook Me," Little Milton's "I Can't Quit You Baby," or Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bring It On Home." Led Zeppelin covered these over their first two LPs, but could only amplify the raw power of Dixon's original words and melodies.

Dixon's prowess also shows through his influential bass work and the sides he did solo and with his group, The Big Three. Highlights here include "Crazy For My Baby," the humorous "Walkin' The Blues," and the acoustic "Weak Brain, Narrow Mind."

So, applying Willie Dixon's place in music history to freshman logic class goes like this: Dixon once named an album, "I Am the Blues." He also said in the liner notes, "As long as American music survives, so will the blues." Therefore, as long as American music survives, so will the songs of Willie Dixon. "The Chess Box" proves that to be no boast.Essential. ... Read more

16. Southern Journey, Vol. 9: Harp Of A Thousand Strings - All Day Singing From The Sacred Harp
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Asin: B0000002UQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 24775
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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If you had to choose just one Sacred Harp disc to own, this would be it. Volume 10 in the Southern Journey series may have more fuguing selections, but this is the best overall for its startling, briskly recorded stereo sound--no mean feat for a field recording from 1959! In addition to songs like "Cussetta," the always great "Weeping Mary," and "Montgomery," there are snippets of testimonials and confessions placed throughout. So you get to hear Harp singer Joyce Smith declare, "A lot of times a preacher will get up and preach and it don't seem like it has any effect on anybody. But you let a band of God's children get together and get to singing--people's gonna feel it." --Mike McGonigal ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Manages to articulate something ineffable and wonderous!
I happened upon this disc after becoming re-acquainted with shape note singing via the recently released "Cold Mountain" soundtrack. Wow. There is something thrilling, something visceral and yet greater than oneself, that is provoked upon listening to this wonderful and strange music. This is definitely not the Boston Camerata, so please don't buy it hoping to hear something glossy, high-church and perfectly executed. This is simply rousing, foot-stopping spiritual music sung by real god-fearing folk. Something in this music evoked a certain Proustian nostalgia in this Appalachian woman, reminding me of attending church with my elderly aunt at the tiny Baptist church in Cyrus, West Virginia as a small child--a church so small that the minister was a circuit preacher who rotated between several congregations. That congregation had something of the enthusiasm rendered on this disc-- I listened with tears streaming down my face. I highly reccommend this recording to anyone interested in musical ethnography, or in simply hearing the word of God sung with full-out enthusiasm and joy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent recording!
I found this CD listed when I was looking for something else, so this is most definitely serendipitious! Having had the good fortune to learn Sacred Harp singing from Paul Hillier when he directed our University Chorus, I have always loved the musical style. I have recordings by Boston Camerata, but good as they are, they are not the "unpolished" gems found on this CD. I learned a long time ago that in the tunes that had an alto line, the best altos were those that caused the paint to peel off the wall. Those are the voices on this recording! Talk about singing with sincerity and conviction - no fancy studio work here! If you are interested in the musical heritage of our nation, this is a "must-have"! If you have a hankering for hymns that are most definitely NOT "High Church", you will be well pleased - and who knows? You may find yourself seeking out groups that still practice this musical style - go to an all-day sing, with "dinner on the grounds!" ... Read more

17. Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
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Asin: B00004Z43I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10029
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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R.L. Burnside's background is pure Mississippi Delta--he was raised in the hill country and musically trained by quintessential bluesmen like Fred McDowell. But this record, like all his work, is infused with an adventurous spirit, haunted by eerie bits of electronic music and dark, despondent subject matter. The combination sounds irresistibly fresh, and scary as a hellhound on your trail. --Matthew Cooke ... Read more

Reviews (23)

4-0 out of 5 stars Went to crossroads, returned as funk master...
Well, if you're reading this you know that R.L. Burnside is one bad mutha who can thrash a juke joint like no one else, but did you know he can apparently bump a block party as well? Burnside's latest Fat Possum album amounts to an official bid towards cross-over success. If you heard his last release, Come On In, you can probably guess that the boys at Fat Possum kept the big beats for this one. For better or worse (mostly for the better, fear not), R.l.'s vocals (which are better than ever before) are backed by a murky concoction of smooth beats, funky wah wah guitar, and murky organ swirls. He doesn't play guitar on a single track and Kenny Brown (his white "adopted son") plays only on the classic title track. Nevertheless, I just want everyone to know that underneath all the brooding funk the blues is alive and well. This is the kind of record that Morcheeba wishes they could make but only a cat who's been around for as long as R.L. has could've pulled it off with as much credibility as it has here. I mean the guy's 73 years old! If he chooses to make a record as modern and diverse as this then who's going to stop him? The blues ain't nothin' but dance music, he says. I agree. This record sure ain't the old time religion and the juke joint stomp is a little more slick this time around but that shouldn't matter in the end. This backwards hillbilly, this blues master from the hills of Mississippi, R.L. Burnside has taken a jump so far forward that he often circles back around and passes himself up. He's got mandolins and old acoustic guitars comfortably next to drum loops, samples, and etheral DJ scratches. ...But it's still got the grit of authenticity that clings to the best blues. R.L. sounds confident, his singing is strong, and he's not afraid to boldly expand a musical formula that has laid dormant for one hundred years. The old timers will surely cry foul but this is not mockery. This is a kind of brash, atmospheric blues that makes perfect sense coming when it has.

3-0 out of 5 stars Burnside Style Saddled With Lame Production
Like Burnside's previous disc, the experimental indie hit "Come On In," "Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down" represents a hybrid of Mississippi blues, techno, and white hip-hop. On the new record, though, the techno and hip-hop elements are less pronounced. In fact, the record seems at times an attmpt by the record's producers to appease both those who loved "Come On In" and fans of more orthodox blues stylings who hated it. Ironically, the experiments on the previous album were much more representive of Burnside Style than the mush on the new disc. For one thing, R.L.s real band played(and was sampled from)on "Come On In." For reasons known only to them, the folks at Fat Possum chose to replace R.L's regular cohorts with a crew of studio vets. Burnside's terrific lead guitarist Kenny Brown plays on only one track(the standout title track), and Burnside's guitar isn't heard from at all. While Rick Holmstrom and Smokey Hogg contribute a few tasty licks, they fail-depite their best efforts-to replicate the vicious twin guitar slash and drone style that is Brown and R.L.'s trademark. Also M.I.A. is drummer Cedric Burnside(R.L.s grandson), whose original(though largely unheralded)Dr. Dre-meets-Sam Carr beats are a more potent Hip-Hop/Blues fusion than anything Burnside's producers contribute to the mix of the new record. Some of the stuff on the new record-particularly the sampled vocals that pop up out of nowhere on several tracks-even sounds kind of dorky. On a couple tracks, the producers seem to be trying for an Issac Hayes style R&B Funk feel, but instead create something that belongs on the soundtrack of a 70's porn flick. What redeems this record(and earns for it all three stars given above)is Burnside's vocal performance on the record, which is the strongest of his career. Burnside's singing is more controlled, more subtle, and more powerful than ever before. While quite long in the tooth, R.L. Burnside is just now peaking. He deserves a better showcase for his art than "Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down."

4-0 out of 5 stars Why didn't I find him sooner?
RL Burnside is awesome! When I heard one of his songs on, a streaming internet radio site and I was hooked. I thought, "I gotta get my hands on that CD!" When I arived home, I couldn't wait to play it. I cranked the volume up loud and had a lil' jam fest! I loved the way he incorporated hip-hop beats with his soulful blues sound! I will definitely be buying more of his albums in the future!

5-0 out of 5 stars I like it!
I love some of the sound effects that were added to this recording though Fat Possum added 3 bonus tracks done without remixing to try and satisfy everyone no doubt. "Chain of Fools" especially is a must-hear with the rapper effects. On my copy, however, "Black Mattie" (the first bonus track), starts over a minute into the track. Do I have a defective copy or is it supposed to be this way?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Really "UP" Blues Album (read the review)
Stood absolutely still, riveted to attention when I first heard this CD. Next step was to find the sales clerk so I could buy it!! It is an understatement to say R.L. Burnside sings with emotion, this man KNOWS BLUES, he has LIVEDBLUES, and STILL HAS HOPE ... tinged with an Alabama accent, he sings with a southern drawl, full of the realities of life. The liner booklet says it best (& I quote): "The last genuine performer of raw Mississippi hill country sounds as well as cutting edge crossover artist the blues has had in the past 30 years." Honesty, depth, detail, raw emotions, earthy statements: it's all here & more! Great lyrics, great slide guitar playing,too. "Too Many Ups" one of the tracks, is a play on words: "You gotta look UP to the man ... too many ups, too many ups, too many upside down", "You gotta coer up", "You gotta catch up", "You gotta get paid up", "Too many upside downs". Some other favorites are, the title song, "Wish I was in Heaven Sittin' Down", "Hard Times", and "Chain of Fools".

Let the lyrics of "Nothin' Man" tell his story:
"I never had a chance ... it never was fault MY fault. You can't arrest me. I pay the rent. I never wanted to be a BAAAD person. I wish my mama had loved me. You can't arrest me. It never was MY fault ... I never wanted to be a BAD person." The ambient music contrasts nicely with the words & lyrics, with a shadow of the underside of life - not far off from the truth. This is genuine, visceral music: FAT POSSUM RECORDS have provided us a vehicle to enjoy the music of this living legend of Mississippi blues. They have a great sense of humor, too. Inside the CD is a card to fill out with demographics, and a block of space, with the instructions: "trace your housekey here" YOU GOTTA LOVE 'EM!
Three "bonus" tracks are included: "Black Mattie" by Robert Balfour (a rather scarry piece of music & lyrics, too), "Pucker Up Buttercup" by Paul Jones, & my favorite of the three, "Laugh to Keep from Cryin'" written & sung by Burnside's ado[pted son, Kenny Brown, a great talent in his own right who has learned & apprenticed with this MASTER OF MISSISSIPPI BLUES, THE LIVING LEGEND! ... Read more

18. Every Road I Take: The Best Of Contemporary Acoustic Blues
list price: $17.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00000G4NL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8681
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid Acoustic Compilation!
This is a good mix of contemporary acoustic blues which features several well known musicians. The cd features many standouts such as, Alvin Youngblood Hart's "Pony Blues" from his award winning cd "Big Mama's Door", Keb' Mo's "Love Blues" from the cd "Keb' Mo'", R.l. Burnsides "Long Haired Doney" from "Acoustic Stories", Guy Davis' "Georgia Jelly Roll" from "Call Down The Thunder" and John Hammonds "Riding in the Moonlight" from his "Mileage" cd as well as an acoustic version by Tab Benoit of "Rainy Day Blues" featuring vocals by Willie Nelson. All in all, the cd is an excellent primer and is recommended for individuals that want to sample country blues. The only substandard tunes on the disc are Steve James "Stack Lee Blues" and Woody Mann's "Little Brother". With those two exceptions, the cd is a keeper.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to various artists
This CD features some of the best contemporary blues artists around. Highlights (besides the incredible Keb'Mo) include the Sue Foley tune and the Tab Benoit/Willie Nelson duet. Fantastic! A wide variety of artists and song styles make this a must-have blues album. ... Read more

19. Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And Soledad Prison)
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002P4B
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22603
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Simply one of the greatest live blues recordings ever. Hooker plays alone at Soledad, yet the real thrill is hearing him backed at Greenwich Village's Café Au-Go-Go in 1966 by Muddy Waters and his band, including pianist Otis Spann, unsung harmonica giant George Smith, Francis Clay on drums, and guitarists Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson. All are at the height of their abilities, but it's Hooker who works like a hoodoo conjurer, making misery rain down in "Seven Days" and "When My First Wife Left Me." This August night's reading of "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" ranks among the most intimidating vocal performances ever taped. His guitar and baritone singing sink to rarely heard depths of the blues--that secret place in the music (known only to its absolute masters) where it becomes an elemental force. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic, Must-Have
Miles Davis once told John Lee that, "You sound like you're buried up to your neck in mud" (that's a good thing if you tell the blues). This CD is deep. Raw. Painful. In fact, "I'm Bad Like Jesse James" hits so hard that you get scared just listening to the song. This live compilation, especially the 8 tracks from the Cafe au Go-Go which are backed by Muddy Waters band (yeah, THAT Muddy Waters), is a must-own for anyone who wants to experience the depth and power of John Lee Hooker. This is the blues in its finest 70 minutes. Awesome.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Live
This is my favorite live recording of early John Lee Hooker material. The CD has two different live recordings. The first eight tracks were recorded at The Cafe au Go-GO in in 1966. The last five tracks were recorded inside Soledad Prison in 1972. The last song on the CD, "Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang" which was changed later in his career to "Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom", is probably the best recording of this song that I have heard on any of Hooker's CDs. This recording is raw, rough, and powerful, just like the man himself!

John was right, way back in 1966, when he first sang the song (also on this CD) "I'll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive." Rest in Peace, I drink one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer to you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Real Transformation
Despite Hooker being in his prime and having a great band at the Cafe Au Go-Go, I found the tracks from his performance there tepid. It sounds like he was trying to tone down his act for an ofay audience. Really - it's not a lively performance. So, that part of the disc gets three stars.

However, the tracks from Soledad Prison are scalding. "What's the Matter, Baby", "Boogie Everywhere I Go" and "Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang" in particular absolutely cook. That part of the disc gets five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb, gritty live blues
This CD reissue combines John Lee Hooker's "Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go" album with five songs from his "Live At Soledad Prison" LP (the other two songs from that LP had John Lee Hooker, jr. doing lead vocals, which is probably why they aren't included).

The eight Café Au Go-Go-tracks feature Muddy Waters and his band backing John Lee Hooker, and Hooker performs some of his best songs in rough, tough arrangements, topped by his hoarse, expressive baritone voice.
It's a little bit unusual to hear John Lee Hooker backed by a full band, but the arrangements work exceedingly well, and Hooker is in no way overwhelmed by the presence of three more guitarists (Muddy Waters, Sammy Lawhorn and Luther Johnson), and pianist Otis Spann.

Highlights include a truly menacing "I'm Bad Like Jesse James", a swaggering, swinging "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", a tremendous, slow "I'll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive", and a soulful "When My First Wife Left Me", to which Otis Spann adds some truly magnificent piano playing.

On the Soledad tracks, which are also band-backed, Hooker lays down great renditions of "What's The Matter Baby" and "It Serves Me Right To Suffer", with the twin lead guitars of Luther Tucker and Charlie Grimes smouldering behind him.
"Lucille" is a great, mid-tempo boogie, and "Bang Bang Bang Bang", an alternative version of "Boom Boom", which rocks every bit as much as the MTV version did twenty years later.

If your idea of what the blues should sound like is latter-day B.B. King or Robert Cray, this might not be your thing...these recordings are far from polished and very much full of grit, but if you like your blues raw and ragged, this is indeed the real deal. One of the finest, most autenthic live blues records I have ever heard.

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Classic John Lee. Worth it just for "Bad Like Jesse James" me chills.... ... Read more

20. Come On In
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B000008UMZ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5954
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Now, here's what you call a break from tradition. After bridging the gap between punk and blues on his collaboration with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, A Ass Pocket of Whiskey, Mississippi bluesman R.L. Burnside ventures into the world of beats and grooves with Come On In, a series of remix projects with producer Tom Rothrock (Beck, Foo Fighters). The cynics among you may smell opportunism, but Rothrock is sensitive and respectful enough to Burnside's originals to do them proper justice. Even the 4/4 high hat and filtered sound effects of "Rollin' Tumblin'" sound appropriate to the music at hand. Though these treatments--largely instrumental--erase the most of the presence of Burnside's searing vocals, Burnside and Rothrock's adventurousness will win over most to their progressive-thinkin' boogie chillun'. --Justin Hampton ... Read more

Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Rock On Old Timer!
This CD blew my socks off the first time I heard it. Especially the third track Let My Baby Ride. We can only wish that more people will get the chance to hear the rocking blues of R.L. Burnside. Just think he is probably old enough to be your Grandfather and he just might take credit for it too! You must buy this CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Burnside had the guts to shake up the blues: awesome.
Mr. Burnside decided to shake some of the cobwebs out of the blues genre, and probably p.o.'ed some purists in the process. If you can get through the loss of some of the purity of blues, this is one tremendous disc.

There are a few non-altered pieces on the disc, and the live version of the title song will stick in your head like flypaper, as will the next track, ``Let My Baby Ride'' with the man himself sampling his last name. The other outstanding track is the remixed version of ``Rollin' Tumblin' ''.

What confuses most people who like the blues is that the music isn't supposed to be so upbeat. But that's what makes this disc breathe - the fact that it goes against the grain. Burnside had the guts to take on not only his music, but an entire genre and twist and shape it into something foreign - and the results are wonderful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Come on in!!
I just got done listening to this Cd and man oh man it's cool. I really didn't think that I would like it all that much, boy was I wrong. It is every bit as cool if not more than Wish I Was in Heaven Sittin' Down and evern harder edged> This is the kind of album you need to play really loud.

3-0 out of 5 stars Probably not for the blues purists, but...
...but for those of us who's eclectic tastes *include* the blues, there's a lot to like in this album. There are some sections of briliancy ("Let My Baby Ride" and "It's Bad You Know" both just rock), and some sections that were a little repetitious for me.
The North Mississippi All-Stars album Shake Hands with Shorty sounds like what you'd get if you gave an old R.L. record to a garage rock band. This album sounds like what you get when you give that same record to a techno DJ. There's a lot of sampled cuts looped together and layered under electric guitar and drums. Some vocals are re-mixed in as well.
Definitely worth checking out if you're looking for something different.

4-0 out of 5 stars Blues with a twist
Labels, labels. What do we label this album? Blues? Techno? Techno-blues? Labels like these are too narrow for me. This is good music. I love blues and I also love techno; but I wouldn't call this techno just because it makes good use of loops. It's blues with a twist. It's a great musician and his producer exploring their talents.

I have many friends who aren't big blues fans, but they're always asking me to play this album. The beats are very fun and make you want to just get up and dance. I think the best blues shows are the ones that really move your body, and this album does just that. If you're a blues fan with an open mind, or just a music fan with an open mind, you'll find this album in your CD player more often than not. ... Read more

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