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81. Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues:
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82. It's Time
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83. Inspiration Information
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84. Strong Persuader
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85. Live in Cook County Jail
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86. Ray Charles and Betty Carter/Dedicated
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87. Johnnie B. Bad
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88. The Turning Point [Bonus Tracks
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89. The Road We're On
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90. A Meeting by the River
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91. Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play
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92. True to Yourself
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93. In the Right Place
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94. It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going
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95. King of Delta Blues Singers
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96. Avalon Blues : Complete 1928 Okeh
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97. King of the Blues Guitar
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98. Gris Gris
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99. Soul Serenade
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100. From the Dust

81. Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey
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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


82. It's Time
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Asin: B0006213RG
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 16030
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83. Inspiration Information
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Asin: B0000CC833
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 52360
Average Customer Review: 4.77 out of 5 stars
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Album Description

Inspiration Information, the brainchild of guitar prodigy Shuggie Otis, more than justifies the cult following garnered in the years since its (largely ignored) 1974 release. Son of R&B legend Johnny Otis, Shuggie was a late-'60s celebrity due to his Super Session duets with Al Kooper. Opting out of arena rock -- he reputedly refused an offer to join the Rolling Stones -- the 19-year-old Otis spent three years in the studio generating this one-man opus. His multitracked rhythms recall the laid-back funk of the Meters embroidered with psychedelic filigree, and his voice resembles Allan Toussaint's. But in every other regard, this is singular, sexy music, dislocated in time. Drum machines propel "Island Letter" and the beat-box-plus-organ stabs of "XL-30" predate England's Young Marble Giants by several years. Also featured are four bonus cuts from the artist's 1971 set Freedom Flight, including "Strawberry Letter 23," which was later a hit for the Brothers Johnson. Heard here in its original form (with a surprise prog-guitar coda), the song conveys the impression of "Good Vibrations" being played by a lone musician. Unbelievably wonderful. - Billboard ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A lost gem
Strawberry Letter 23 by the Brothers Johnson has always been one of my favorites. I considered it the perfect song. For years it never occurred to me that there was another earlier version of the song out there. So when someone told me that the original was composed and sung by some guy named Shuggie Otis, I shrugged it off. No way it could be as good as the Brothers Johnson, I thought. My mistake.

I happened to hear Shuggie's version and was intrigued. But fearing there would be just one good song among clunkers, I was reluctant to buy the whole CD. Others persuaded me to buy it and I'm glad I did.

With his futuristic, laid back bluesy yet funky vibe, Shuggie proves to be the missing link between Sly Stone and Prince. Although drum machines are way overdone today, in 1971 it was still relatively rare and Otis puts them to good use. Songs like Strawberry 23, Aht Uh Mi Hed and Sweet Thang could still be considered visionary today.

This CD is a gem. It's too bad the record didn't see fit to keep Shuggie after less than sterling sales. He should have received more recognition and appreciation.

5-0 out of 5 stars if you don't get it, well, try--this is quality
A sure sign of a good album: it grows on you. A sign of a possibly even great album: you sort of don't even get it the first time, beacause it is in its own category, but for some reason you play it again, and you like it better . . . and it grows on you. Shuggie Otis is just musical. The guy has music in his bones. I'm not going to try to compare him to anyone . . . . He wrote "Strawberry Letter 23" if you know that. I don't know if it's true, but I do believe that the Stones offered him a job and I do believe that he turned them down; this album is better than Stones of the middle 70's, with the soul the Stones always revered and aspired toward. His music is laid back and pretty and funky, not mellow though; you want to ride along with the songs. It's like being stoned in a garden. I used to put on this music Sunday mornings when I was cooking a nice breakfast and in the mood for a good day. Now I just put it on when I'm in the mood for good music and a good mood. This is quality, but if you have to read the reviews, it's probably quality that'll take you in a slightly new direction. If you like good music no matter what the style, this is a strong pick. One thing's for sure, the music is not crap. Consider it a test of your eclecticism (an easy test for me in this particular case).

5-0 out of 5 stars a lost classic...
WOW!!! l grew up listening to the Motown greats and somehow l missed this artist. A friend turned me on to it and it is one of my all time favorites. The music is bright and jazzy but soulful and rock too. This guy is a freakin' genius. Thanks to David Byrne for rediscovering and rereleasing this gem. Seriously don't miss it. His version of his song strawberry letter 23 is solid.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great music!!!
A friend of mine gave this to me and I was totally blown away. I was just as impressed to learn about his history. I am just glad that Luaka Bop was able to release this amazing album. After hearing samples of his songs on Digable Planet's "For Corners"(Island Letter) and Dana Bryant's "Cat Daddy at the Shugah Shack"(Sweet Thang), it was nice to hear the original compositions and how time has not really affected them. The string and drum machine propelled "Aught ah mi hed" is amazing as is the original "Strawberry Letter 23". His tinkering with keyboards, drum machines, combined with his playing of traditional instruments is sublime and heartfelt. Beautifully made music!

5-0 out of 5 stars You will love this!
It's worth every star and then some. I don't write many reviews, save for Cds I love- this is easily in the top 10! ... Read more


84. Strong Persuader
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Asin: B000001FKR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7096
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

Stinging urban blues by way of Texas and Memphis distinguish Robert Cray's major-label debut, which followed three strong independent releases. Here he fleshes out his sound with bursts of brassy Southern soul courtesy of the Memphis Horns, but keeps his pungent, steely guitar solos out front in an engaging dialogue with his plaintive vocals. Released in 1986, Strong Persuader signaled that Cray, as a writer--like his contemporary Stevie Ray Vaughan--had something to say about his interior life beyond the usual bluesman's laments, an approach that pays homage to the music's rich traditions while suggesting new areas of inquiry. --David McGee ... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great collection of music
I first heard "Smoking Gun" when I was 16 and was blown away. In the era of hair bands and glam metal, Robert Cray quietly hit the scene and showed how he was alot better than what was big at that time. Funny how he is still making music and most if not all of the hair bands are gone. This disc is from top to finish a great collection of music. We have some serious slow blues like "Right Next Door" and Smoking Gun, and some faster tunes like Nothin' But A Women and I Guess I Showed Her. Not only are we able to see how much knowledge of the blues Robert Cray has, But we also get an insight to his knowledge of classic soul and R&B. This CD is still strong after 14 years and I still am totally into it.

5-0 out of 5 stars News from the front
If there is a war between men and women, Robert Cray's songs are like casualty reports straight from the front. The music shows a serious knowledge not merely of blues (although that would be quite enough), but of deeply-rooted gospel and R&B (who cannot love the Wilson Pickett-style horns on "I Guess I Showed Her?"). This is matched well with the personal details Cray adds to his lyrics. In "Foul Play," we can almost hear the protagonist's paranoia and fear. In "I Guess I Showed Her," he glowers triumphantly at dumping an unfaithful spouse, only to reveal his hurt pride at the very end of the song, in the fadeout. In "Right Next Door (Because of Me)," he is a womanizer feeling--one thinks for the first time--pangs of guilt over the seduction of yet another wife. While not a replacement for recordings by the blues greats of old, this is an incredible CD.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic!
Robert Cray took the music scene by grit force with this sexy original album. His voice croons like maple syrup and his guitar player is edgy and raw. This is a classic album at the beginning of a stella career as Mr Robert Cray has gone on to receive 11grammy nominations and won 5 ." The album has a flow and I never get bored of listening to it. An album not to be missed and one that belongs in any serious music collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Leave this in your cd changer
It's like butta- it just melts around you and you sort of forget it's there though it becomes your personal soundtrack. Yo Cray man, you gotta throw in some lousy tunes now and then! When you have an album of all 10's it's almost too perfect. But hell, I can't argue. Put this on when you got that special lady over- it'll turn her loose quickstyle.
I'm glad you were doin your own thing in Hail Hail Rock and Roll by the way...keep it real.

1-0 out of 5 stars Paint-by-the-numbers so-called blues...
I knew Robert Cray's music before I bought this CD, having seen him appear as a guest artist in video of a Tina Turner concert. However, after thoroughly investigating Chicago and Delta musicians of the Blues' Golden Age (1930s to mid 1960s), I thought I should give him a fair hearing to see what all the fuss was about. Sure, I expected the music to be in the broad-appeal, slick vein and that it would not be something that I would put on as often as, say, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Hooker, Guitar Slim et al, but I did not expect it to be some of the most vapid music that I have ever heard, regardless of genre. Cray's lyrics are strictly paint-by-the-numbers on a the Love-Gone-Wrong theme. At times, they are so corny and banal that I wince. The music is souless and totally unoriginal. At best, Cray has the technique to be a good session guitarist but there are plenty of session guitarists out there that play as well as he does. If someone tells you that if you are going to have only one blues CD, this is the one, you will know that person knows nothing about the blues. Try this quick (but time-wasting) test: listen to Strong Persuader(at least give poor Bob a break by listening to him first) and then listen to Muddy Waters: His Best 1947-1955 (MCA/Chess) and ask yourself if the two CDs are even from the same genre. The music on Strong Persuader is: totally banal, irrelevant, and an insult to the intelligence....TO AVOID ... Read more


85. Live in Cook County Jail
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B0000062Y5
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5915
Average Customer Review: 4.81 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

One of the greatest concert recordings of all time. How could it be less, with B.B. King performing some of his best material before a literally captive audience in an Illinois prison? "Worry, Worry" and "How Blue Can You Get" take on deeper meanings here, although King works the latter's camp lyrics as if he were in a juke joint. His mix of down-home humility and commanding stagecraft is instantly appealing. And his guitar barks, sings, and squeals with such authority that this is a bravura performance from the first bent, soul-searing note. A true desert-island disc. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars The King at his best!
When people talk about B.B. King's greatest albums they normally narrow the fight down to two albums: Live at the Regal and Live in Cook County Jail. For years blues fans have fought about who is the better of these two blues heavyweights. However any way you slice out Cook County Jail is the clear favorite.

The main reason that I think this is the superior recording is that it captures the King at his peak as a guitar player. This album is the reason he is one of the greatest guitar players ever. In the Regal he depended too much on his horns group, so we didn't hear enough of Lucille.

Then there's B.B. the performer. Something about these 2000 some odd prison inmates gave the King a buzz that night, because he was very loose that day, having fun with the crowd and going through fantastic versions of How Blue Can You Get, Worry Worry, Three 'o' Clock Blues, and (most notably) the always essential The Thrill is Gone. All coming with a flair that only he could have produced.

There are some albums that a blues fan should simply own so that he can declare himself a blues fan. Cook County Jail makes one. Live at the Regal makes two. Both are all time classics, and represent B.B. King at his all time greatest. So if you love great blues, jazz, and soul meshed together, which normally means you love great music, then you must own these two CDs. You ain't a blues fan if you don't.

5-0 out of 5 stars B.B. and Lucille, live and great as ever
Live in Cook County Jail is a wonderful live B.B. King record. I have only two complaints: The songs are soooooo short! Everyday I Have The Blues is like one minute long! The CD ends way too quickly. Also, B.B.'s live records tend to feature the same songs over and over. Several of the songs on Live In Cook County Jail can be found on Live At The Regal, and they're performed in very much the same way. Having said that, though, any live B.B. is great. His voice and guitar are amazing as always, and he has a great rapport with his audience (even when it consists of prison inmates).

5-0 out of 5 stars quite remarkable indeed
i was 12 years old when i first heard b.b. king and it was this exact album.it is still relevalt to me today as it was 15 years ago.this album was recorded live and as such it captures the very essence of a live act,touching and delivering a great emotinal impact followed by a great deal of exitment of the crowd.
it is a rare moment and you can take part in it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blues you have GOT to have
I had this record in the '70's. I bought the CD in the '80's and I have never gotten tired of listening to it. This is one of the best all time CDs, blues of otherwise. My favorite BB King CD, and that is saying a great deal. Thank you BB!

5-0 out of 5 stars King Knew He Was Having A Good Day !
This is one of the very first BB records I ever purchased. It stands the test of time as a very great live blues record. What stands out the most is BB's playing on it. Lucille had an amazing tone too. This is a blues record through and through, don't let other less knowledgable reviewers throw you. It's pretty cool he knew at the time too that is was a magical day as he announced "Me and Lucille feel very very good today...". His band is outstanding too. The only down thing I can say about it is that after repetitive listens, Worry, worry, worry seems to drag on. That's no big deal.... ... Read more


86. Ray Charles and Betty Carter/Dedicated to You
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Asin: B0000063EW
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 1705
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Ray Charles's decision to cut an album of duets with then-rising jazz singer Betty Carter defines the phrase "unerring instinct." Charles responds to Carter's gorgeous voice and compelling melodic changes with some of his softest singing; you might say that this already masterful conduit of emotion got in touch with his feminine side on this 1961 date. The opening and closing cuts of the girls'-names theme album Dedicated to You, another '61 LP that fills out this 78-minute disc, demonstrate Brother Ray's touch for transforming unlikely material into expressions of his own funky essence. His amused big-band celebrations of "Hardhearted Hannah" and "Sweet Georgia Brown" sit alongside sublime portraits of "Stella by Starlight" and "Ruby" on an underappreciated set that's a perfect match for the Charles-Carter sides. --Rickey Wright ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Natural Musical Performance
It is probably a mistake to romanticize the past, however, I wonder if a recording such as this could be made today, in this age of polished marketing and highly 'professional' musical performance. Their is a natural, unforced, aspect to the music here that can not be denied.

By now, the greatness of Ray Charles and his stature in the Jazz World, is indeed self evident. His work with Betty Carter on this disk shows his sensitivity in selecting a companion for collaboration as well.

I have listened to this disk countless times, musing over the sensitive lyrics and the performances rendered. The songs never forget to remind me that a delicate sensibility, while not easily found, can be a worthy companion.

You might enjoy the sensitive vocals and fine orchestration here, no matter what your current love status may happen to be. It is hard to recommend this disk highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong...
Ray and Betty rule. This is an outstanding pairing of contrasting vocal talents with fine phrasing and orchestration. Wonderful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, refreshing,entertaining
A great pairing of two musical giants

5-0 out of 5 stars one of the most played in my collection
When this was recorded there were so many people who showed up to witness this fabulous duo, that the session had to be closed. You can feel the emotion...not a finer recording exists. Guess you can tell I like it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ray Charles at his best
I originally bought "Dedicated to You" in 1961 in college. It was the only albumn that I ever wore out completely with help from my dormmates. It was played constantly. The titles are all girl's names and his treatment of "Nancy" "Dianne" and "Hard-hearted Hannah"are classic with big band background. All these years later the CD has not lost a thing in fact the stereo sound is more realistic than it ever was. Then to find an additional albumn with Ray and Betty Carter on the CD was a real bonus. The price is worth one of these two alone. If you like Ray Charles you won't be disappointed. ... Read more


87. Johnnie B. Bad
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Asin: B000005IV9
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 73823
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Here's that cat
Ever listen to Chuck Berry music, and when hearing the fantastic piano in the background wonder who that cat was?

Here's that cat!

This is an infectious collection of music that's as fun to listen to, as it sounds like it was to record!

After hearing this, I can't wait to get my hands on some more Johnnie Johnson!

4-0 out of 5 stars Go Johnnie go go go!
Johnnie Johnson is simply a fantastic piano player with a style all his own. Let's face facts - It was Johnnie Johnson who wrote such chuck berry classics as Johnny B. good although they were credited to berry for a long time. Finally Johnson decided to strike out on his own 30 years later and we all should be greatful that he did. Johnnie B. bad is his second solo album and it is just great to listen to. His first album, bluehand Johnnie, while filled with hot piano licks, really sounded forced and uninspiring and almost electronic. Finally with this album he got it all together and just played what he wanted to play and everyone who sat in with him to make this record sounds like they are having a great time. for me the standout track is the opener, "Tanqueray." I could just play that song all day long. It has a nice raw sound to it - almost like a spontaneous jam session. The album carries this feel through almost every track so it sounds like you are listening to a group of guys playing the blues just to have some fun, but the piano player just happens to be the one and only Johnnie Johnson. pick this CD up and you will very quickly see why Johnson easily deserves to be a well-respected musician in his own right - Chuck berry or no chuck berry.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most fun R & B I know...
The whole album is a celebration. Tons of fun. After once or twice I guarantee you'll be singing along. And after hearing "Stepped in What?" you'll never look at the sidewalk the same way again...

4-0 out of 5 stars Johnnie the Great
Great blues-boogie piano- w/ Clapton and Keith Richards- even a rare Richards SOLO! Johnnie in fine laid-back form. Tanqueray is outstanding! ... Read more


88. The Turning Point [Bonus Tracks 2001]
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Asin: B00005R8FI
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7268
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Acoustic Blues Deluxe
One of the other reviewers calls this album a "timeless classic" and it is. Over the very many years that John Mayall has been making blues music he has developed a reputation as the foremost British interpreter of the guitar/harmonica-based Chicago blues style, and has worked with extradinary musicians (particularly guitarists- Peter Green, Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, among many others).
This album is all acoustic and it is extradinary. Anyone who thinks only of Mayall's electric approach is missing a real treat here.
Throughout his long and distinguished career John Mayall has been criticized for his vocals, and if you don't like them no one can help you with that. But, regardless, the musicianship on this work is so good, and the spark in the band is so uplifting, that his voice is of secondary concern.
Highly recommended from a long-time blues lover.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mayall's Best
This remarkable album featured something new in blues-rock music. Mayall formed a band with no drums and no electric lead guitar, relying on the bass of Steven Thompson to keep the rhythm, and substituting acoustic "finger-style" guitar in place of the blistering electric licks that had been a prominent feature of Mayall's style. The format was not new to Mayall; the liner notes to the "Room to Move" compilation state that he got the idea from another, less well-known band. Regardless, Mayall's sound on Turning Point was unique; the use of woodwinds and acoustic guitar, combined with Mayall's harmonica, flirted around the outermost fringes of jazz, and the live tracks presented here are smooth and flowing, reaching a peak in the magnificent "California" which became a staple of FM radio for a time. "Room to Move" was the closest Mayall would ever come to a bona fide hit in the U.S.

Unfortunately, this was a turning point for John Mayall, commercially and artistically. Shortly after this release, blues went out of fashion, and the quality of Mayall's work plummeted. The no-drums format became increasingly difficult to work with in large, noisy concert halls and was eventually scrapped.

Mayall has returned to produce fine work in the 1980s and 1990s; his most recent release, "Stories", is one of his best; and he released first-rate albums such as "Chicago Line" and "A sense of Place" in the 80s. At close to 70, he is still recording and performing new work, but "The Turning Point" remains the high watermark of his career. This is one of the great albums of the 1960s, and one not to be missed.

This version has three "extra" tracks, and I'm happy to say that they're excellent and well worth the price of the disc, even if you own a copy of the original CD. I wish there was more of this stuff!

4-0 out of 5 stars timeless blues
this rock classic withstood the test of time flawlessly. john mayall along with johnny almond make california a masterpiece in the same vein as al kooper and mike bloomfield in there super session masterpiece... funny thing how many lovers of the blues still seek out there sages when they wish to hear the real things....

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgetable
I remember this album (yes, that funny round vinyl thing) when it was new. I was blown away by the music that I heard. It is undoubtedly the best "live" album I've ever heard and I wanted more. I wore the record out!! I plan to wear the CD out, too!If you like smooth,jazzy, easy blues/R & B by a rocker, give it a try. Makes Dave Matthews look bad, and I like Dave Matthews.

5-0 out of 5 stars "C-A-L-L-L-L-FORNIA"
As a lyricist,, he was terrible. As a singer, hopelessly off key. But as a musician -- immense. I saw this band at the FIilmore and the recording faithfully delivers the electricity and wonder that this music produces. Johnny Almond, Jon Mark and Mayall of the anthemic "Room to Move". And then California -- a clarion call to a mythic image of the West in the seventies. The bonus tracks are great also.This CD is a must have. It is a classic. And perhaps the most creative work John Mayall ever produced. ... Read more


89. 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


90. A Meeting by the River
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Asin: B000005L9Z
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5852
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Ry Cooder has long had an interest in other people's music, from the blues and gospel of black America through classic jazz and the music of Cuba. Even by this standard, his meeting with Mohan Vishwa Bhatt is certainly a departure. He is neither a serious student of Indian music nor in any way a master of its intricacies. Yet on his improvised session (this album was recorded without rehearsal in one evening), he and Bhatt truly collided musically and created moments worthy of the world-music Grammy they received for it. Bhatt is an iconoclastic character himself. He plays a modified box he calls the mohan vina that is a hybrid of a classical Indian instrument and slide guitar. He is long trained in the arduous classical style, yet his work has always demanded a lot of freedom. His duets here with Cooder are completely unique, liberating both artists from the usual constraints and creating a new musical style that is unlikely to be repeated or imitated. --Louis Gibson ... Read more

Reviews (21)

3-0 out of 5 stars Toure collaboration is better
I accidently bought this album thinking it was the Ali Farka Toure collaboration, which I had heard before and loved. This one was a little bit of a let-down. There are only four songs, and only one of them could I really distinguish from the others, Ganges Delta Blues. The album is a little short in play time, and a little short on imagination. Ry is a master of understatement with the guitar, and his playing just can't be heard or affect in any way Bhatt's music. It's a "Meeting by the River" alright, but these two fellas jumped in together for a swim and I'm afraid poor Ry drowned.

5-0 out of 5 stars Subtle beauty is inspiring, also imparts tranquility.
This album contains a particular mix of Western and Asian instrumental styles that I had not heard elsewhere. The playing is lyrical, sensitive, and subtle. While there is a strong, moving rhythmic line underneath the melodies, that is very engaging, the album has a meditative feeling. It restores a sense of peace and optimism after I have had a hard day. Since purchasing this album, I purchased another by Ry Cooder, and listened to other albums by V.M. Bhatt. This effort by V.M. Bhatt is more successful than some of his other ones. I am also keeping an eye out for other offerings on this label. This album exemplifies some of the best qualities of World Music. The artists blend different musical cultures very deftly. There is a keen sense that they are conversing with one another. They reassure me that personal and cultural boundaries can be transcended.

5-0 out of 5 stars good slide work
It helps to have listened to Indian music before. You can easily get fatigued by it, if you've never heard Indian music.

Cooder's slide work is really nice. You'l hear the typical blues music in the back ground and it somehow blends with Bhatt's raagas. Bhatt is pretty good as usual.

5-0 out of 5 stars Isa Lei
"Isa Lei" is my favourite piece on this cd. It is a FIJIAN farewell song, not Hawaiian like most people tend to think. Being a Fijian myself, I couldn't help but cry when I first heard Ry Cooder and Bhatt's rendition.

5-0 out of 5 stars a Great Fusion
The blending of Ry Cooder's guitar with Bhatt's instrument is an
exquisite exercise in world music fusion. Tasteful delta sounding passages intertwined with Raga like statements are built into four very listenable pieces that had this listener returning again and again. ... Read more


91. Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play the Blues
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Asin: B0000032E9
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 53530
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars I'd give it five if...
...there were more tracks like the first one: Buddy's 'Man of Many Words'. Sure, it's a re-write of Otis Redding's 'Hard to Handle', but it's a good re-write, and it has most of Derek and the Dominos,(Doctor John filling in on keyboards),-smoking- in support. Why not more Dominos?: Supposely there were many problems on these sessions, (mentioned, but not really explained in the notes), and they didn't even have enough material to release as an LP, until the two 'J. Geils Band' tracks were done quite a bit later.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
"Buddy Guy & Junior Wells Play The Blues" is one of the duo's very best albums. Two tracks are Junior Wells-less, recorded by Buddy Guy with the J. Geils Band; the remaining eight songs feature a star-studded backing band which includes pianist Dr. John on several tracks, and some guy named Eric someting. Capton, something like that.

The song list is excellent, and so is the band, which sounds tight and supple, never threatening to overwhelm the two stars.
There are none of the erratic vocal performances or rambling solos that sometimes plagued the duo's live shows (this album is a studio recording). Junior Wells sizzles, laying down some great vocal performances. Buddy Guy's solos are controlled and disciplined, yet strikingly effective in up-tempo and ballad situations, and saxist A.C. Reed provides some soulful fills and gritty solos.

Among the highlights are a sizzling remake of T-Bone Walker's "T-Bone Shuffle", and a swinging "My Baby She Left Me".
Guy does a fine "Bad Bad Whiskey" with an otherwise very discreet Eric Clapton playing slide guitar, and he is entirely credible in a grinding Otis Redding mode on the southern soul stomper "A Man Of Many Words", and the up-tempo "This Old Fool". Junior Wells does a great rendition of "Come On In This House" and his Vanguard classic "Messin' With The Kid"

This CD certainly deserves its place among the other tremendous items in the Rhino/Atlantic R&B Masters series. Definitely recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars leave out two tracks
Five stars for sure if not for tracks 7&10. So it gets four stars instead. ... Read more


92. True to Yourself
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Asin: B0002T2QEM
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5543
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Blowing through 10 songs like a six-string hurricane, Albert Cummings arrives as perhaps the first serious contender to the blues-rock guitar throne vacated by the death of Stevie Ray Vaughan. His playing crackles with energy, spinning off stuttering bends and screaming sustained tones in every solo. And there are plenty of those, even in the two ballads: "Sleep," which displays his acoustic technique, and "Lonely Bed," a slow blues dappled with sensitive, probing melody lines. Like his hero Vaughan, Cummings often boosts his knottier phrases by stomping on a wah-wah pedal, kicking his Stratocaster into a throaty roar. He also shares Vaughan's last producer, blues-rock specialist Jim Gaines, and his bassist, Tommy Shannon. What Cummings lacks is Vaughan's range as a vocalist and songwriter. His singing is short on dynamics and his lyrics comprise fairly mundane love songs built on simple rhymes. Nonetheless, this disc makes a powerful calling card for a new, high-voltage talent. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more


93. In the Right Place
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Asin: B000002I6Q
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11043
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Start with the Meters, whose hard funk is so efficient there's not a wasted note or out-of-sync beat. Add producer Allen Toussaint's wonderful vocal and horn arrangements. Top them off with seven Rebennack originals plus four well-chosen covers, and you have an album that seemed to arrive out of nowhere at the time of its original 1973 release. It still sounds garden-fresh today, not just the monster hits, "Right Place, Wrong Time" and "Such a Night," but also the chain-gang funk of "Same Old Same Old," the verbal insults of "Qualified," even the second-line soul of "Shoo Fly Marches On." The closest thing to a weak link is "Peace Brother Peace," in which Rebennack anoints himself the Dr. Feelgood of love and happiness. But the Meters sound as if they believe every word he's singing, so who are we to argue? --Keith Moerer ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars dr. john's 'in the right place' for sure-in my top 10
dr. john's 'in the right place' for sure-in my top 10. i listened to this album when it first appeared and am still loving it like it is the first time. definitely a top 10 all time album pick. simply sophisticated without the trappings. no tricks, just great stuff.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dr. John the Nighttripper in all his glory
This is a straight reissue of the 1973 album release. A scant 34 minutes and no bonus tracks. Not even any liner notes -- which might just be the way the disc was originally issued.

Backed by the Meters (Leo Nocentelli, Arthur Neville, George Porter and Joseph Modeliste), augmented by the multi-instrumentalism and production of Allen Toussaint, Dr. John stretches out in more funky and soulful directions than the previous year's reading of New Orleans classics, "Gumbo." Dr. John wrote or co-wrote 8 of the 11 tracks here, with three more Crescent City treats (James Waynes' "Traveling Mood", Allen Toussaint's "Life" and Alvin Robinson's "Cold Cold Cold").

The disc leads off with Dr. John' only top-40 hit, "Right Place Wrong Time" (#9 in June of '73). This is one of those great productions that at the time just slipped right into the stream of things, but looking back at it now it's a wonder to think it actually made it into the popular conscious. It's a similar feeling to realizing that Johnny Nash's "Hold Me Tight" or Desmond Dekker's "Israelites" brought ska and reggae sounds to the American top-40 without ever really saying so. There's a soulfulness to this, an r'n'b sound in the horns, organ and background vocals, that just defies the sort of prefabricated pieces that usually make the charts.

The rest of the disc continues in the soulful vein, feeling much like the Neville Brothers work at points. It moves from the upbeat and funky (the title track, "Qualified") through gospel-tinged pieces ("Peace Brother Peace") to quiet, more soulful ballads ("Just the Same") There's some interesting interplay between Dr. John's piano and Art Neville's organ. Nice horn playing throughout from the Bonaroo horn section.

Overall a great piece of funky early 70's New Orleans soul, all filtered through Dr. John's nighttripper persona.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cool, funky, hip...................
This really is an excellent album. If you like a sophisicated, funky sound, then this is for you. I liken it to a New Orleans funk sound with soul. The stand-out track has got to be 'Right Place Wrong Time'.'Qualified', 'Peace Brother Peace', 'Such A Night' all hot on the heels. Check out the drumming too. ... Read more


94. It's So Hard To Tell Who's Going To Love You The Best
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Asin: B000001SM7
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Sales Rank: 23743
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Karen Dalton was one of the ultimate free spirits. Arriving in New York from her native Oklahoma in 1960, she immediately became a part of the rising folk scene there, a hippie before they had a name, someone who lived life completely on her own terms. She was also, as this records shows, a superbly talented singer, eerily reminiscent of Billie Holliday. The only problem was that she disliked performing, and, in fact, had to be coaxed to make this album in the late '60s. Fortunately, the recording went very smoothly, with most of the vocals being first takes. Dalton (who died in the early '90s) had a natural feel for the blues. She could take songs by her contemporaries, even old folk songs, and find the blues inherent in them. It remains a mystery, really, why a record this good was lost among the releases of the time; its power might have been simple, but it was undeniable. Dalton did record again, making one other album. Now that we have the joy of It's So Hard to Tell, perhaps someone will see fit to issue that, too, and make our legacy complete. It's just a shame we've come to them so late. This is the real folk blues. --Chris Nickson ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Truly a gem of a recording!
I remembered Karen Dalton from her Woodstock years on an album from an obscure label like, "Just Sun", or "Sunshine Records" (?). That was a long time ago and in the interim she has proven (by this cd) just how unique and powerful a performer she really is! The choice of material, the personal and emotional nature of the vocals and the incredible mood each song evokes is a gift to the listener. Sounds like she sang them in the dark, on the bed, next to me! What more could I ask? This goes into my "Favorite Female" vocalist pile along with Madeline Peyroux, Joni Mitchell and a cherished handful of others! I want more!

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest "unknown singer" of all time?
I first heard about Karen through one of her biggest admirers, Lacy J. Dalton. Lacy compared her to Billie Holiday, and said she might even be BETTER than Billie Holiday. When I first read Lacys assesment, i was inclined to be skeptical. I love and trust Lacy J., but thought she might be blinded by nostalgia and sentimentality.This theory was reinfoirced by the fact that I couldnt find any matererial on Karen. However, little bits of data began to seep in., and almost every evaluation echoed Lacy J. Here was a tstupendous talent few people had ever heard of. However, the few who had heard her--ranging from Lucinda Williams to Peter Stampfel--loved her. after listening to this amazing album, and reading Stampfels eloquent, honest liner notes, I am compelled to conclude that Karen Dalton WAS the most underrated "popular" singer, in ANY genre of the whole twentieth century. This unique, almost weird, utterly uncanny voice is unforgettable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Are You Going To the Country?
Yes, Karen Dalton had another album out with this title or this song on it. It also contained a song called, "Take me" which i've heard sung by George Jones. These two songs alone place Karen Dalton among the finest of the 60's folkies. Superb vocals that take you away to the country and her. Someone please rerelease that album if possible.don't remember the label name.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lost Masterpiece
This CD is quite simply beautiful and soulful.

3-0 out of 5 stars to complete the picture
We know that this time,early '60s in NY was very productive,that everyone got their start there,some survived,some became famous,some comitted suicide etc etc. Karen Dalton was out there early and listening to her as she has songs speak through her you can hear the plaintive uncertainty of her life as it was unfolding....there she is on the back of the cd singing and playing with bob dylanand fred neil and then she fades from the radar while bob becomes bob and fred goes on.Her versions of fred neil and tim hardin songs sure take to a different place than the versions by the writers...much sadder,theres no joy here.I am glad that i bought this cd cuz it fills in some gaps in the history of that melting pot in ny.You cant help but feel sad for karen tho' ... Read more


95. King of Delta Blues Singers
list price: $11.98
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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


96. Avalon Blues : Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings
list price: $9.98
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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


97. King of the Blues Guitar
list price: $9.98
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Asin: B000002I7H
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3345
Average Customer Review: 4.94 out of 5 stars
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These 17 tunes come from King's most fertile period, his 1966-68 tenure at Memphis's Stax Records. Stax chief Jim Stewart had been reluctant to sign blues artists because he felt straight blues wouldn't mesh with Stax's patented Memphis soul. Ironically, the fusion of King's sharp guitar wails with the dynamic rhythms of Booker T. & the MGs--the Stax house band--was what set King apart from other bluesmen. The unique blend produced classic after classic: Booker T. Jones' rolling piano propels "Laundromat Blues." Al Jackson's drum shuffle supports "Crosscut Saw." The driving horns of Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson, and Joe Arnold accent "Born Under a Bad Sign." King's ripe and mellow vocals are a perfect match for the soul-drenched music while his dramatic string bends leap out. --Marc Greilsamer ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Albert King's Atlantic Records Version of his Stax Work
This was my very first Albert King LP. It was released as the height of the 1960s Blues Mania and so did very well with white listeners. However, the album is really a re-release of several singles and additonal session material that was done at Stax during 1966-1968. The real story is that Atlantic stole the whole Stax catalogue under a clever distribution agreement. This lead evntually to Stax's total demise in the Mid-1970s.

The album is a great overview of King's early period with Stax. Actually, it is a double album- the seminal album "Born Under A Bad Sign", with additonal cuts. All bonus tracks are originally from that Stax classic album-the most influential Black Blues LP of the late sixties.

The tunes include his classics such as "Laundromat Blues" Albert's first Stax release with his soulful double string bends, "Overall Junction" a mono instrumental masterpiece, that unlike Albert Collins or Freedie King tunes has no primary melody "or head". He offers "Born Under A Bad Sign" a tune he recorded in one take as an overdub to the MG's backing track, "I Love Lucy" is a great example of his talking blues abilities (he was one of the best) and the guitar is super raw with superb bends! "Cold Feet" a tune written with drummer Al Jackson, Jr (who also helped him on "Night Stomp" and produced his famous "Live Wire" set) it is a great talking blues with a catalogue of King licks-it was his second highest charting single. "You Sure Drive A Hard Bargain and You're Gonna Need Me" are later cuts that were added on the release of the original LP. "Bargain" was a cover a another R&B tune with a great Memphis Horns chart and "Need Me" is a self-penned Albert Classic that became the basis for Otis Rush's "Right Place, Wrong Time".

"Crosscut Saw" is my personal favourite with "Personal Manager" second. Crosscut Saw was an old 1940s tune which was given a rumba beat and still was originally released even though the first tape had been damaged! "Manager" is a great showcase for KIng's soloing technique. It may even be too much for some people! "The Very Thought of You" and "I Almost Lost My Mind" are great examples of Albert's Big Band Blues roots and his great tenor vocal ability. Many people are thrown by these tunes as not being really blues, but they demonstrate the versatility of this genre.

"The Hunter" is a famous tune that was never a hit for Albert, but was on his Bad Sign LP. Ike and Tina Tuner later recorded it with much success. "Oh Pretty, Woman" is a powerful tune that has been covered many times (Gary Moore, John Mayall) but was never actually a hit for Albert. It was wrtitten by WDIA's A.C. Williams and demonstrates the close link Stax had to Black radio play (Rufus Thomas was also a DJ there!). "As the Years Go Passing By" is one of Albert's best slow blues numbers. The best take of this tunes is to be found on the "Hard Bargain" CD released after his death and has many outtakes from this period! No one really knows who wrote the song or where it originally came from. Dedric Malone, another DJ is credited with penning it.

Finally the thrilling instrumental, his first in stereo, "Funk-Shun" contains his famous stop break bending from his original tune "Won't Be Hanging 'Round" (Although this phrase is never actually sung in the tune, a charactersitic he must have learned when he played with Jimmy Reed!). It is great, but too short! This LP is a great overall introduction to the Albert King style of Blues. An essential part of any Blues collection!

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes indeed!
This is an excellent overview of Albert King's beginning days with Stax Records and house band Booker T. & the MGs, along with The Memphis Horns. What this offers is the entire landmark Born Under a Bad Sign album which is considered by many to be the definitive urban Blues album. Atlantic packaged that album with some bonus material that is just as great.

King was without a doubt the most prolific Blues guitarist of his generation, and his sound spawned more imitators than even B.B. King. The remastered Rhino CD The Very Best of Albert King is the place to go to get the full effect of Albert's Blues power. His guitar doesn't stand out here near as much, but this is really a showcase for not only King's soulful string bending, but for the MGs' superior ensemble playing. It took the greatest Soul band in the world to be the most perfect band any Blues singer could ask for. Multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones will dazzle the listener with the most impressive technically and stylistically Blues piano work I've ever heard. And with King's producer and drummer Al Jackson, Jr. leading the way, these are some of the greatest records ever made - whatever the genre'.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funk-Shun
This is a great collection for the blues fan, that really showcases Albert King's talents! My only wish would be that the songs were longer, but this is the way they were recorded and still worth their weight in the funk-shun of the blues! Magic!

5-0 out of 5 stars Speechless!
Unbelievable! This album is awesome. If you like the electric blues guitar, Albert King is your man and this album is his best. Excellent guitar solos accompaniad by great deep vocals. Only one song i don't love. An attempt at a slow song, "I almost lost my mind". It is Albert King tryin to be what he is not. The rest of this album is the best collection of blues i have ever heard. Three words.....BUY THIS ALBUM!!

5-0 out of 5 stars An unexpected treasure from an unexpected source.
This is an album I lifted from my parents record collection when I was a kid. They didn't miss it, it was a selection they got by mistake from their record club (they were more of the Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell and Donovan ilk). I was hooked immediately. In fact, I think it was the first full blues album I ever listened to. This is the essential Albert King set, and it is pure blues magic from start to finish. Highly recommended for all blues fans, especially aspiring blues guitarists (like me). ... Read more


98. Gris Gris
list price: $16.98
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Asin: B00004SW9R
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10954
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Covered in a variegated spray of New Orleans Mardi Gras feathers and shiny voodoo baubles, Mac Rebennack's highly personal mythology was finally made real on this 1968 album. This was his first appearance made under the new guise of Dr. John Creaux, the Night Tripper. Before then, he'd been a pivotal figure on the Crescent City R&B circuit. Afterward, he became one of its most significant blues ambassadors. This album is a classic of the admittedly specialized psychedelic swamp-gumbo genre, boasting at least four tracks that have become cult favorites. "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya," "Mama Roux," "Jump Sturdy," and "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" each delicately mix catchy choruses and weird spatial sound effects, with radical stereo separation, intensely croaking, close-quarter vocals from the doctor, pneumatic keyboard riffs, pinprick electric guitar, and booming Afro-Caribbean percussion. The album still stands at its original 33-minute length, with no bonus cuts unearthed, but its high density more than compensates for any brevity. --Martin Lonely ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Ti Alberta
I've owned this album for many years now, I consider it to be one of the most raw & unique albums ever recorded. It makes you feel as if you're sitting in a run-down New Orleans shack watching a voodoo ritual. Tunes like Cris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya, Danse Fambeaux, Jump Sturdy & the ever so haunting I Walk On Guided Splinters makes this album a must have for any eclectic music fan.

If you ever have the chance to play it for some drugged friends, do it! And watch the expressions change as they steadily get more and more freaked out as the album progresses, ultimately climaxing on I Walk On Guided Splinters. The third "'Ti Alberta" seems to trip people out the most, ask them if they see any spirits too, it's a nice touch.

Anyway, go buy & enjoy the fun spookiness that is Dr. John's Gris Gris.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
They call me Dr. John
Known as the Night Tripper
Got my satchel of gris gris in my hand
Tripping up, back down the bayou
I'm the last of the best
I'm known as a gris-gris man
Got many clients come from miles around
Running down my prescriptions
Got medicine cure all y'all's ills
Got remedies of every description..."

-*-*-*-

Some people think they jive me
But I know they must be crazy
Don't see dey misfortune
Guess they just too lazy

J'suis the Grand Zombie
My yellow belt of choison
Ain't afraid of no tom cat
Fill my brains with poison

Walk thru the fire
Fly thru the smoke
See my enemy
At the end of dey rope

Walk on pins and needles
See what they can do
Walk on gilded splinters
With the king of the Zulu

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters
Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters

'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)
'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)
'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)
'Ti Alberta ('ti Alberta)

Roll outta my coffin

Drink poison in my chalice
Pride begins to fade
And y'all feel my malice

Put gris gris on your doorstep
Soon you'll be in the gutter
I can melt your heart like butter
A-a-and I can make you stutter

Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters
Kon kon, the kiddy kon kon
Walk on gilded splinters

*-*-*-*-

4-0 out of 5 stars This sure is Voodoo Music
The first time I heard this record, I thought: "This is awful: Poorly recorded, out-of-tune instruments and voices, uninspired and pretentious tracks..." I was looking for something like 'Gumbo' -one of my favourite records of all time- and found something completely different instead: No funk, little Blues and almost no piano.
However, after some time, I gave it another try -without any prejudice- and was gladly surprised. I had been mistaken... Next time I realized it, I was wanting to hear 'Walk On Guilded Splinters' and 'Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-ya' again and again. I read a few things about the great Dr. John and found out that actually those songs (that are not traditional, but composed by himself) were used FOR REAL in vooodoo gatherings and even rites! They sure transmit a very 'haunting' mood, to say the least. Was I hoodooed? -Shivering-
To me, those tracks are worth the entire album, although 'Danse Fambeaux' and 'Mama Roux' are also interesting. The reason why, having such classic tracks, I do not give it the top mark is because I feel that the album is a little too short and uneven. Anyhow, it is still a landmark album for Dr. John that was a very risky bet at the time of its release (Ahmet Ertegun, boss of the record company, hated it).

I bet those sessions were conceived with some mixture of true spirituality and humour. These days, when I feel psychedelic, I play Jimi Hendrix's '1983' or 'Gris-Gris' if I want to shiver a little bit...

5-0 out of 5 stars DARK, DIRTY, DENSE, AND DANCEABLE....
I have also reviewed Babylon, the companion cd to Gris-Gris, and have done a bit of editorializing. This cd deserves only the mention of the musics, Dr. John's "high concept" reaches musical fruition with a swirling array of avant-guard funk, down & Dirty swampy grooves,and Afro-Caraiba poli-ritmos ,performed on mostly organic/acustic instrumentation( outside of the obligatory electric guitar, & electric piano/organ)..... the 2 long "narcotic" tracks, Gris-gris" & "I walk...Splinters" lure you into a trance-like world, where the 2 "danses" evoke a Hoodoo whirling dervish....."WORLD musics " before the frase was coined! And the strictly New Orleans "Mama Roux" is a second line strut! No "blues -influenced" stuff here, Africa comes home on the drum, and not the "blue-note". Rough, ragged & poorly produced, the emotion of the musics shines through like the healing rays of a new day's sun! Dr. John's finest hour- he WAS inna right place at the right time, and gris-gris is the legacy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, Doctor, take me back to N'awlins
It has been over 30 years since I first heard this collection of music, and I believe it could go another 30 and not lose a beat. If Mac Rabenneck and cohorts were guilty of cashing in on the rage for psychedelia way back in 68, at least they came by it honest and with a fierce originality that was...and remains...all their own. I've slipped this CD on when young (20-30 somethings) friends are visiting, and they flip. They're not hearing retro-psychedelia, or gimmicky sound effects, as some reviewers might suggest. They're hearing something primal and hot, borne of a Louisianna bayou night with fireflies in the mangroves and barely-perceived forms flitting through the shadows.

Yeah, lower the lights, burn a few candles, and sit back with this one cranked. ... Read more


99. Soul Serenade
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Asin: B0000A4GAK
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 7485
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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It would be wrong to pigeonhole Derek Trucks as a southern rocker despite his ongoing day gig as the Allman Brothers Band's second guitarist. On his fourth solo album (actually recorded before his third, 2002's Joyful Noise) the young slinger shows what he's made of, and it's not barbeque and bourbon. Instead Trucks caters more to the martini crowd, giving a sophisticated cast to his slide guitar, snaking it into elegant musical conversations with a rather frivolous flute, and some off time drumming that are reminiscent of the clean jazz fusion that Traffic used to conjure up. On the opening track, "SoulSerenade"/"Rasta Man Chant," Trucks inserts some of the languid licks and flirts with Miles Davis before devolving into Bob Marley. "Bock to Bock" is a more structured affair that recalls Henry Mancini. Gregg Allman sits in on "Drown in My Own Tears" and spits out the bitter words in his grizzled voice while Truck follows along in aperfect slow dance, punctuating each of the singer's phrases with his own mournful slide. Trucks ventures south of the border in "Afro Romp" and the band evokes the great jazz drummer Elvin Jones on "Elvin." --Jaan Uhelszki ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pop music fans need not apply...
The fourth installment from The Derek Trucks Band, Soul Serenade, which was apparently recorded before 2002's Joyful Noise, works as fine a follow-up as I can imagine. While Soul may rock less than Noise, its eclectic fusing of jazz, rock, Indian, blues, and even folk amalgamate to beautiful results.

These recordings-all-instrumental, save for Track 3, sung by Gregg Allman who's in fine form-are sophisticated compositions that have a discernible melodic structure-sometimes lacking from "jam bands." But to merely call TDTB a jam band would be doing them a disservice. The jams are never self-indulgent; they have direction and balance. The musicians have such a tight synergy between them that it appears they've been playing together for a decade or two. The tunes are at times jazzy: ("Bock To Bock"), funky: ("Soul Serenade/Rasta Man Chant"), bluesy: ("Drown In My Own Tears"), and ethereal: ("Oriental Folk Song" & "Sierra Leone"). Despite sounding like a mere rambling of music styles, the songs on the disc actually coalesce into a natural togetherness-creating a unified vibe.

The key word for this band is taste. They tastefully employ the use of flute (a rather audacious choice that works so well), played by the widely talented Kofi Burbridge. They tastefully keep their tunes to a reasonable length, never overplaying as far as I'm concerned. Even the packaging and liner notes (though a bit laconic) show good taste.

Like all great art, and I do believe this album exemplifies great art, Soul Serenade is truly original. But if I had to liken it to something, I'd compare them to Traffic (at their zenith), of course The Allman Brother's Band, and Wes Montgomery (the late jazz guitarist). And because it's great art, it's absolutely NOT for everyone. There are no "pop hooks" (I loathe that phrase) or riff based songs. There's no maudlin display of musicianship or image. There are simply forty or so minutes (I wish there was more) of great music.

The last thing I'll say is about Trucks himself. The CD includes a bonus interview where D.T. offers up his own take on his music. After watching this, I felt a tremendous respect for him; he is articulate, humble, and wise beyond his years. It's nice to know there are some artists who know not only what they're doing, but also why they're doing it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pop fans need not apply...
The fourth installment from The Derek Trucks Band, Soul Serenade, which was apparently recorded before 2002's Joyful Noise, works as fine a follow-up as I can imagine. While Soul may rock less than Noise, its eclectic fusing of jazz, rock, Indian, blues, and even folk amalgamate to beautiful results.

These recordings-all-instrumental, save for Track 3, sung by Gregg Allman who's in fine form-are sophisticated compositions that have a discernible melodic structure-sometimes lacking from "jam bands." But to merely call TDTB a jam band would be doing them a disservice. The jams are never self-indulgent; they have direction and balance. The musicians have such a tight synergy between them that it appears they've been playing together for a decade or two. The tunes are at times jazzy: ("Bock To Bock"), funky: ("Soul Serenade/Rasta Man Chant"), bluesy: ("Drown In My Own Tears"), and ethereal: ("Oriental Folk Song" & "Sierra Leone"). Despite sounding like a mere rambling of music styles, the songs on the disc actually coalesce into a natural togetherness-creating a unified vibe.

The key word for this band is taste. They tastefully employ the use of flute (a rather audacious choice that works so well), played by the widely talented Kofi Burbridge. They tastefully keep their tunes to a reasonable length, never overplaying as far as I'm concerned. Even the packaging and liner notes (though a bit laconic) show good taste.

Like all great art, and I do believe this album exemplifies great art, Soul Serenade is truly original. But if I had to liken it to something, I'd compare them to Traffic (at their zenith), of course The Allman Brother's Band, and perhaps Wes Montgomery (the late jazz guitarist). And because it's great art, it's absolutely NOT for everyone. There are no "pop hooks" (I loathe that phrase) or riff based songs. There's no maudlin display of musicianship or image. There are simply forty or so minutes (I wish there was more) of great music.

The last thing I'll say is about Trucks himself. The CD includes a bonus interview where D.T. offers up his own take on his music. After watching this, I felt a tremendous respect for him; he is articulate, humble, and wise beyond his years. It's nice to know there are some artists who know not only what they're doing, but also why they're doing it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
There are some very mixed reviews of this disc, and I'm surprised. Of the seven tracks, the lone vocal is "Drown In My Own Tears," and Gregg Allman sounds great juxtaposed against the classic Trucks slide guitar sound--this slow blues indeed would have sounded right at home on the Allman Brothers LP "Hittin' The Note."

The opening track, "Soul Serenade/Rasta Man Chant" is arguably the longest, with Trucks contributing the familiar licks of the former before a long, slow reggae-influenced slide guitar piece featuring Kofi Bainbridge on flute. Other reviewers have stated that there's too much flute on this recording, and still others have said that there's a drop in quality after the first three tracks. I disagree--every track here is strong, with mostly slow blues numbers featuring tasteful flute charts echoing that beautiful guitar. Although the comparison is apples and oranges, the brief closer, "Sierra Leone," is more acoustic than the rest and reminds me of the way the ABB ended "Eat A Peach" with "Little Martha." All of these tracks are good, though. "Elvin," "Afro Blue," "Bock to Bock" and especially "Oriental Folk Song" more than hold the standard. This is my first introduction to solo Derek Trucks, so I can't speak to his other efforts, but I really like this one.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Bad, But Hold The Flute.
This material was actually recorded in 2000 (I believe) and left on the shelf for a while. The first two cuts (there are only 7) are the best on the CD. They also illustrate the style of the music quite well; which is mellow jazzy blues folk/rock with hints of world music mixed in. This is by far the most layed back album Derek Trucks has ever released, but it is still good stuff (mostly). Though, after the third track things really get fluty (as in the flute) and the direction of the music becomes monotonous and pointless. I would recommend this album only to Derek Trucks fans and to people who find The Allman Brothers too heavy-sounding.

4-0 out of 5 stars Are two great songs enough for an album?
Derek Trucks is an incredible musician. He brings virtuosity, taste, variety, and great musicians with him every time he releases an album. And I have all of them.

Derek Trucks comes in many flavors. Some of these flavors are nice, interesting, educational, etc. The blues flavor is my favorite. So, each album has only a few songs that I really like. Yet, I like those songs so much that I listen to them over and over. And, those songs provide all the value I need to buy the album.

In the "Soul Serenade" album, there are two songs that provide that value: Drown In My Own Tears (which has enough value for the whole album) and Soul Serenade.

I played this album for some good friends who love the jazz flavor. They loved it so much that I gave it to them. I had to buy myself another copy to replace it. ... Read more


100. From the Dust
list price: $18.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B0007D4MJ0
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 37318
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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On From the Dust, slide guitar virtuosa Rory Block has both feet in the blues and at least one hand on the Bible. Her artistry provides a bridge between the spiritual hymnal and the "devil's music" as which the blues has long been branded. Original material such as the title track, "The Gate," and "David Had the Blues" evoke Scripture against the deep groove of Block's propulsive guitar playing, while "Remember" represents a personal testament to the power of faith. These tracks seem to channel the inspiration of the Reverend Gary Davis, but Block also pays tribute to more secular-minded blues masters, such as Charley Patton ("High Water Everywhere"), Muddy Waters ("I Be Bound"), Robert Johnson ("Stones in My Passageway"), and Son House ("Dry Spell Blues"), matching her command of their instrumental styles with her breathy, sensual vocals. Other material ranges from the playful affection she shows her pets on "Runaway Dog" to the seedier slice of life, "Fargo Baby." Though the recording presents Block solo and acoustic, multitracking enhances some of the arrangements, while the performances frequently carry an electric charge. --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Solid Effort
After spending twenty years with Rounder Records, Rory Block released one of the best albums of her career in 2003 with her Telarc debut LAST FAIR DEAL.And to prove that was no fluke, the 55-year-old slide guitarist has done it again with FROM THE DUST. This is a solid collection of mostly original material. The covers are Muddy Waters' "I Be Bound," Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway," Charley Patton's "From the Dust" and Son House's Dry Spell Blues. All told, this is a solid collection from the reigning queen of the blues.VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ... Read more


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