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101. The Best of Cajun: The Traditional
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102. Boogie Man
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103. All By Hisself: Live at the Lonestar
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104. Lafayette Marquis
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105. Still Alive and Well
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106. Burnside on Burnside
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107. A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
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108. Born Under a Bad Sign
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109. Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
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110. Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live
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111. Presumed Innocent
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112. Zydeco [Putumayo]
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113. So Many Rivers
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114. Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi
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115. Electric Mud
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116. Live At The Cafe Au Go-Go (And
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117. King of the Blues [Box]
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118. So Many Roads: Live in Concert
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119. Release the Hound
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120. The Chess Box

101. The Best of Cajun: The Traditional Songs
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Asin: B000005XFX
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10441
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Acadienne At Its Finest!
The songs on this album with the exception of Big Mamou are old beautiful traditional Cajun songs. Waylon does an excellent job at playing these songs and keeping them fairly authentic sounding. Waylon should be given a medal for preserving these old songs and giving them a modern-quality recording. Waylon does not exclude modern zydeco either in Big Mamou. This song will make you want to jump up and do the fais-do-do. If you dig Cajun music at all, this album is a must have.

5-0 out of 5 stars This collection of Cajun music is just too cool for words!!!
Okay, okay, you haven't encountered much of Cajun music? Here's the place to start. Twelve catchy numbers, most with lyrics in Cajun French, brighten this fine record by Waylon Thibodeaux. They're lively, enjoyable, and make you want to dance or at least enjoy more whatever you might be doing while listening. Thibodeaux does the definitive "Jolie Blonde" in this CD, and has several great ones such as "Grand Texas," "Grand Mamou," "Je Veux le Marier," and "Paradis Two-step."

I gawrontee, cher! These are as good as they come. Crank up the volume when you play this CD loud, and have a nice plate of jambalaya with a bottle of Abita Turbo Dog to go along. Laissez le bon temps rouler!!!! ... Read more


102. Boogie Man
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Asin: B0000V76C4
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13088
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Howlin' New Release!
Omar's gritty and slightly hollow baritone vocals pay homage to the boogie blues by way of Memphis, TN. The Howlers stay closer to traditional Texas blues rock with roadhouse influences and an open-tuning slide background. Omar & The Howlers remind one of eating good barbecue in the August heat; weaving many traditional tunes by putting a Tennessee spin on the 12-bar. Omar's gruff and intense vocal interpretations will remind one of a more nasal and laid-back version of Bob "The Bear" Hite's recordings with Canned Heat in the mid-late 1970's (The New Age, 1973, Human Condition, 1978, Etc.) The ever-present influence of John Lee Hooker permeates every crevasse of this album in an 11 track front-to-back boogie. Many friends have showed their appreciation for Omar, lending their help for the release of "Boogie Man". With a growing and rotating list of contributors, the Howlers on this album include (but are not limited to) former Frank Zappa Drummer Terry Bozio, Texas guitar veteran Chris Duarte, and vocalist Alejandro Escovedo. Check back to his webpage for tour updates: www.omarandthehowlers.com ... Read more


103. All By Hisself: Live at the Lonestar (Bonus Dvd)
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Asin: B0000CBLBD
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11520
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars First Impressions
Wasnt aware of this CD - saw it on the J.Booker page...havent rated it either as I havent listened to it yet, (it wont even let me pick no stars -doh! amazon) but regarding others comments - from the samples provided (very handy) it sounds like he is playing on an older electric piano, not acoustic, and agree it sounds badly balanced/recorded..I like to hear what he is playing for transcription purposes. Some of the older Booker recordings are bad but the playing is on an acoustic and comes across clear.
And for posterity let them be issued - warts and all.

to conclude - I will get it; Im a fan and I play.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dr. John Stands alone, all by hisself and Shines doing it!
Dr. John's solo album at the Lonestar is an example of a piano player standing out there alone on his talent. In this age of studio electronic enhancements this is very refreshing! This is a great way to hear his abilities as a performer. He makes the most of an otherwise terrible piano. After a few minutes the piano quality (or lack of) won't bother you because the level of his abilites shines through anyway. The song selection is OUTSTANDING!!! The performance is more "spirited" than his studio album "Dr. John plays Mac Rebennack".

5-0 out of 5 stars Mac Goes It Alone
The great Mac Rebennack, aka, Dr. John goes it alone, all by hisself on this one, and the results are pure as the sweet smell of New Orleans' magnolias. If you're a Dr. John fan, this is an absolute must have. All his hits are here, as well as a host of Big Easy standards. But not only that, there's an excellent bonus DVD on which the good Doctor recounts New Orleans music history.

1-0 out of 5 stars Go with the re-issue of 'Dr. John plays Mac Rebennack'
It pains me to write this because I love this guy, but if you own 'Dr. John plays Mac Rebennack' I believe you're going to ask yourself why would anyone believe I would want to listen to this master play solo blues piano on anything other the best acoustic piano they could find for him at the time.

Compared to the other CD mentioned, this one makes one think of DJ putting on a concert in the KMart keyboard section. Thank god the DVD includes DJ on an true acoustic.

4-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, excellent set of Dr John live
This is a marvelous live recording of Dr. John from the legendary Lone Star from 1986 to kick off series of live performance discs from him. This is just Dr. John and his piano, singing and playing a number songs associated with him and/or New Orleans. Performances including vocals are wonderful and some of the material is not standrad stuff. Included is a bonus DVD with him answering questions and demonstrating aspects of the New Orleans tradition. Only reason not giving this a fifth star is that perhjaps that should be reserved not simply for superb recordings, but ones that stand out as definitive for an idiom or a performer. I am not sure whether this is such a disc. ... Read more


104. Lafayette Marquis
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Asin: B0002N4YHA
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 8667
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Amazon.com

Slim Harpo, Dr. John the Night Tripper, Tony Joe White … one can't help but flash on those illustrious practitioners of swamp music, be it blues, rock, or pop, when listening to CC Adcock's latest effort. As with all of the above, Layayette, Louisiana's Adcock makes music that's dense, damp, and malodorous as a Baton Rouge bog. What's so welcome about Lafayette Marquis it that it arrives decades after the heyday of the Excello sound and the rock & roll offspring it inspired, and long after the genre needed a shot in the arm. From the rhythmic opener "Y'all'd Think She'd Be Good 2 Me" through the voodoo creep "Slanoshotz N' Boom-R-Angz" and the gently rolling closer "Between the Lies," Adcock is at home with swamp sounds as a bayou trapper. It helps that he has the connections and inclination to enlist a few savvy vets to help out, including the late producer Jack Nitzsche (the reverberating "Stealin' All Day" is the last track he helmed), but it's pretty clear that Adcock is right at home with these grooves. --Steven Stolder ... Read more


105. Still Alive and Well
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Asin: B000002ARV
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 18810
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Johnny Winter *IS* rock and roll.
Johnny Winter's "comeback" album from 1973. Johnny is one of the most underrated guitar players that ever picked up a 6-string. While deeply rooted in the blues, Johnny delivers some rippin' stripped-down rock and roll on this album. Production is held to a very minimum of overdubs, and it's basically Johnny with his bass player and drummer. No effects, no slick production tricks, just good old rock and roll. He's one of those rare guys that can just plug the guitar into and amp and rip it up. In addition to his masterful playing, Johnny serves up some of his patented gritty, soulful vocals.

I have worn out two copies of this album, and one or two 8-track copies. This is the fourth time I have bought this, and it's just as fresh as it was in 1973.

If you like simple straight forward rock and roll from a master guitarist, this is a mandatory album for your collection.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice
This is a really solid collection of blues-rock, and one of Johnny Winter's most succesful albums.
Lean and mean, excellently produced, this is one of Winter's more rock-oriented CDs, yet he doesn't resort to generic rock n' roll riffing or tired 50s rock covers...the covers are generally well-chosen and well-executed, including the Stones' "Silver Train", on which Winter plays some screaming slide guitar, and a rough and tough rendition of Bob Dylan's "From A Buick 6".

The acoustic country blues "Too Much Seconal" is really nice, and Winter's blues-rock version of Big Bill Broonzy's "Rock Me" is excellent. Johnny Winter plays energetic, fiery lead guitar without trailing off into pointless shredding or hysterical guitar pyrotecnics, and the arrangements are generally very good.

I absolutely l-o-a-t-h-e Rick Derringers moronic "Rock And Roll, Hoochie Coo", and the title track off this album, which also comes from Derringer's pen, isn't excactly an instant classic either. But his other contribution, the rock ballad "Cheap Tequila", is very good, as is Johnny Winter's bluesy version of "Let It Bleed".
And to cap it all off, Winter actually plays a genuine country song, pedal steel and all..."Ain't Nothin' To Me". It's really good as well, to be honest.

A solid album...not one that will ever take the place of "Hotel California" or "Abbey Road" on the hit lists, but a fine, enjoyable listen nevertheless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Johhnny Winter's Best
After taking a year off to cure a heroin addiction, Johnny Winter came back with his best album ever. STILL ALIVE AND WELL mixes white-hot Texas boogie with cautionary lyrics that tell of survival and could warn people off the trail of any addiction (drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, etc.). Mentioning highlights is pointless, as STILL ALIVE AND WELL sholud be listened to as a
complete album.

5-0 out of 5 stars Still Alive & Well
I scared the "U know What" out of my grade 8 class with this album in 1974. ...in short...Johnny gives a tutorial on what you can do with a tortured Gibson Firebird. If you are going to buy one cd by Johnny Winter...this is it!

5-0 out of 5 stars SMOKIN'!!!
A great album by an extreemly well rounded player. Johnny has many influences and you can hear it on this CD. As others have pointed out this CD is a little more weighted on the rock side of the blues-rock equation that Winters' music is most often described as. Short and sweet...this would have to make the top 20 of best rock&roll albums of all time. If your a guitar player--or just someone who loves guitar--then this is a MUST HAVE!! ... Read more


106. Burnside on Burnside
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Asin: B00005QG8K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 9255
Average Customer Review: 4.87 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

Mississippi hill country patriarch R.L. Burnside's two previous albums dabbled in remixes and trip-hop experimentation geared to the college-rock market. This is a restorative: pure slide 'n' drone blues caught live in January 2001 at Portland, Oregon's Crystal Ballroom. The 73-year-old is joined by his usual jukehouse band, his drummer and grandson Cedric Burnside and guitarist Kenny Brown, who blow sparks behind Burnside's rich honey-and-molasses voice and chunky six-string affirmations. Every time Burnside hits a note, it's a reminder of both how vital an interpreter of the hypnotic style developed by Fred McDowell he remains and how true electric country blues still sounds in its unvarnished state.

There's an emotional resonance that runs through this music like blood, especially when Burnside plays solo. His all-alone performances of "Walking Blues" and "Bad Luck and Trouble" reveal every nuance of his caw-to-keen singing and the sweet way his slide slices right to the emotional core of a lyric. Burnside's off-color jokes and song-ending punctuations (mostly buoyant "Well, well, wells") also give an inkling of the wild-ass grandpa charisma that makes him so appealing on stage. Burnside has, however, delivered better concerts. At times these tempos seem rushed, which sacrifices some of the subtleties of his vocalizing. But Brown unleashes a rabid slide solo on "Snakedrive" that shoots the tune skyward, and he and Cedric display relentless energy and thrust. All of which proves that, with John Lee Hooker now reclining upstairs, R.L. Burnside is the ruler of this music. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal!
What a great way to close out a rather dismal year of blues releases and who better to strike the high note than RL Bunside. This CD was recorded live in January 2001 on the West Coast and was not released until late October.

The CD itself does not contain any new material except for the joke told on "He Ain't Your Daddy" however, the performance and sound quality are simply outstanding. Like other reviewer's, I placed this CD in my changer and turned up the volume. It wasn't long after that I selected the single disc play feature and pushed the repeat button. The only thing disappointing about the CD is that it ends far too soon for me even though it is 52+ minutes long. If you have not experienced RL Burnside, I can think of no better place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome NEW YORKER readers to Fat Possum
For everyone who came here from reading the Feb 4 issue of the New Yorker, which had an amazing eleven page article about Fat Possum Records, RL Burnside, T-Model Ford, and others, this is a great CD to start with. Through all of R.L.'s permutations - Remixes on Come On In, the incredibly strong vocal album with modern effects on Wish I Was in Heaven, the very rough rock on Mr Wizard and the acoustic Mississippi Hill Country Blues - It is here - listening to RL play live in front of a crowd in Portland, that most perfectly displays his magic. This record brings RL back full circle to his ground-breaking debut album, Too Bad Jim - no remixes, guest stars or anything more than him and his band, jokes about drinking, and loud, droning blues, that is rarer on this planet than a wilderness born snow leopard. After this, check out Robert Belfour and Junior Kimbrough's first 2 masterpieces, All Night Long and Sad Days, Lonely Nights.
And if you already read the New Yorker article, you shouldn't need much prodding to listen to T-Model Ford's CDs. Welcome to the Deep Blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best blues album... ever.
RL Burnside is making a case for the best bluesman that nobody knows. He's been around forever, but it's only been the last few years that his music has received the recognition that it deserves. He has several outstanding studio albums but the raw power of his music is at its best on this live recording. RL is the blues.

I've listened to all the great live blues recordings... BB, Buddy, Son House, Muddy, you name it. But there's something about Burnside that sets him apart from all of them. He is a truly great musician.

The measure of a great album is how quickly you listen to it a second time. With this one, I didn't take it out of my CD player for a week.

4-0 out of 5 stars FIERCE BLUES
If music could give you the feeling of being pistol whipped, this album would do it. The guitar here is fierce, aggressive, and wicked. You can't help but to turn this album up really loud as Burnside charges through some very intense soloing on "Jumper on the Line." His voice is raw and perfect for the powerful blues force he brings on this disc. Walking Blues, done a million times by many folks, sounds really amped up, while maintaining the slow dragged out feel and emotion of the song. The album ends with a tremendous jam in "Snake Drive" which displays some fiersome smokin' guitar play and really displays the talent of this band. Great stuff, pure blues power.

5-0 out of 5 stars Transcendent
First-rate live blues. R.L. Burnside is a true original, laying down a dense, intense, electric Mississippi drone with infinite variations woven through it. It is hard to believe that three performers could generate such a wall of sound (kudos to the engineers, by the way). In fact, on Burnside's mid-concert solos - "Walking Blues" and "Bad Luck and Trouble" - it takes a while to realize there is only one performer. The whole album is wonderful, but the last four cuts are transcendent, featuring Kenny Brown's slide guitar and, and (on the very last cut, by grandson Cedric Burnside) the best, and best-integrated, drum solo I've heard since Keith Moon was alive. A personal favorite is "Miss Maybelle" because of the quirky way Burnside varies tempos. ... Read more


107. A Ass Pocket of Whiskey
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Asin: B0000036WR
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 14509
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

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

Reviews (10)

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

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

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

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

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


108. Born Under a Bad Sign
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Asin: B00006878K
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10614
Average Customer Review: 4.64 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.co.uk

Born Under a Bad Sign dates back to a time when albums were collections of singles, and when singles, designed for radio and jukebox play, seldom ran more than three and a half minutes. That limitation meant that artists had to make an impact quickly and firmly. In blues, the tendency of songs to go on a bit had to be curbed to produce performances with punch and point. There are few better examples of this process in action than Albert King's 1960s tracks like "Crosscut Saw," "Born Under a Bad Sign," and his story of hot whispers during the hot-wash cycle, "Laundromat Blues." With his thick voice and no-nonsense guitar, King brought absolute blues credibility to the well-made commercial single, and even tracks that were recorded purely for the album, like the aching slow blues "As the Years Go Passing By," became classics. Reissued with the original funky cover art, Born Under a Bad Sign is one of the foundation stones of a blues collection. --Tony Russell ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Greatest Blues Guitar Album Ever?!
If you are reading this review, I'll have to assume you are new to blues and blues guitar in particular. If you weren't, you wouldn't need any convincing by me to pick this classic up right away. BB King may be called the King of the Blues, but Albert King is the player most wished they could sound like. He was Stevie Ray Vaughan's favorite player and the only man Hendrix said he was afraid to share a stage with. Live Wire, Blues Power may feature flashier long extended guitar solos, but this cd, more then any other, is the one I use to answer the question: who is Albert King? I just pop it in the deck and let the opening title track fill the room. Two or three tracks are usually all I need to get any newbie running out for their own copy. With guys like Booker T., Steve Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, and the great Issac Hayes backing Albert up, this thing grooves from begining to end and every track is a gem. This could quite possibly be the single greatest and most important blues album ever recorded. It's so nice to see it available again. Do yourself a favor and make this your next blues guitar cd. While you're at it, pick up Live Wire, Blues Power and I'll Play the Blues for You. You may have just found a new favorite guitar player.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unbelievably good - great tracks, great sound - true classic
There are perhaps 4 or 5 classic blues albums that all blues fans should own and this is one of them. The album contains definitive versions of many classic blues tracks, such as Born Under a Bad Sign, Crosscut Saw, 'Oh, Pretty Woman', the Hunter (popularized by the rock band Free). ... The sound and tones captured here are excellent (so many recordings loose something when transferred to CD) and Albert's playing show taste and restraint but also fire. Something magic happened when Albert King & Booker T and the MGs (including Steve Cropper)got together.

Most of the tracks have been covered many times over by blues stars including the likes of Eric Clapton, Gary Moore and SRV.
There were a couple of excellent tracks that were new to me (Laundromat Blues and Personal Manager). That said, there are two tracks that seemed dated and which I do not care for: "I almost lost my mind" and "The very though of you" (the liner describes them as "uptown"), but there is more than enough A1+ quality blues here to make that a total non-issue. Quite simply sublime.

5-0 out of 5 stars The real "KING" of the blues
This is an exceptional blues album from Albert King. It includes such classics as Born under a bad sign, Oh pretty woman, the hunter, and Laundromat blues. Buy this album and listen to Albert's guitar sing and then you will recognize why such greats as stevie ray Vaughan and eric clapton site king as a major influence.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ranked #499 By Rolling Stone
This is a solid blues album by a man named Albert King and this album dates back to 1967 he also has a cover of Kansas City this album has good instrumentation and good singing.
Lyrics 9/10 Production 10/10 Music 9/10 Style 6/10 Voice 7/10
Overall 41/50 This album is a solid 4 star release

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT
I purchased this album on Friday the thirteenth after hearing a few of Albert King's tracks, knowing that I would not be dissapointed.
This album starts off with the great songs: "Born Under A Bad Sign," an anthem to those with bad luck and then continues to give one blues classic after another.
Anybody reading this review probably already knows about Albert King's adept guitar playing and there is really no need to say that much more about it, but I will. In my opinion he is the best of the three kings (Albert, Freddy, and BB). His guitar is very mixed, sometimes he delivers the little riff in between each line and other times he goes all out and plays really fast and powerful solos, other times he is just committed to creating a melody. He did everything that a great guitar player needed to do on this album and surely it will not dissapoint any fan of the blues. ... Read more


109. Wish I Was in Heaven Sitting Down
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Asin: B00004Z43I
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 10029
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2000

R.L. Burnside's background is pure Mississippi Delta--he was raised in the hill country and musically trained by quintessential bluesmen like Fred McDowell. But this record, like all his work, is infused with an adventurous spirit, haunted by eerie bits of electronic music and dark, despondent subject matter. The combination sounds irresistibly fresh, and scary as a hellhound on your trail. --Matthew Cooke ... Read more

Reviews (23)

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

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

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

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

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

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


110. Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live
list price: $9.98
our price: $6.99
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Asin: B0000025F2
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 3166
Average Customer Review: 4.82 out of 5 stars
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Released in 1979, this live album is a gem, from the enthusiastic audience (who cheer every line of opener "Mannish Boy") to Muddy Waters's killer guitar to vocals that tease and deliver by turns. The slide work is what to listen for here, especially on "Howling Wolf," where Waters gives any guitar virtuoso a run for his money. There are other special moments as well, including the absolutely killer timing on "She's Nineteen Years Old," the rock-bottom-deep vocals on "Baby Please Don't Go," and the slow sensuality of "Deep Down in Florida." The only shortcoming of this CD is that it's so short: there are only seven songs here, which will leave any listener wanting more. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (17)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


111. Presumed Innocent
list price: $16.98
our price: $14.99
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Asin: B00005B1DL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 11008
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Raised near the border of Texas and Louisiana, Marcia Ball continues to claim dual citizenship for her music, forging a rollicking roadhouse groove that has never sounded richer or more vital than it does here. With her piano style steeped in the soul of New Orleans, Ball and coproducer Doyle Bramhall enlist the Cajun accordion of Pat Breaux and the bluesy Texas bite of Pat Boyack's guitar and Gary Primich's harmonica on a collection that holds its own with the classics that inspired her. Highlights range from a duet with Delbert McClinton on Allen Toussaint's "You Make It Hard" to the supper-club sophistication of "She's So Innocent" to the album-closing homage to Huey "Piano" Smith, "You Make Me Happy." Though uptempo rhythm & blues dominates the selection, the open-hearted balladry of "Let the Tears Roll Down" and "I Have a Right to Know" brings out the best in Ball. --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Marcia as good as ever
Marcia has been influenced by many different styles of music, predominately blues and roots rock but also including R+B, country and jazz - even some Cajun. You can find elements of all these in this album though some are more obvious than others. She has never been a prolific recording artist but her albums are all of the highest quality. This wonderful album, mostly of good-time music, shows Marcia singing as good as ever and backed by plenty of great musicians, although she only occasionally shows her dynamic skills on the piano.

The songs are mainly original (often written by Marcia) but also include covers of You make it good (a cover of an Allen Toussaint song featuring Delbert McClinton as duet vocalist), I have the right to know (originally written and recorded by Brenda Burns and also covered by Francine Reed) and I'm coming down with the blues (a Don Covay song from 1960).

Among the original songs, I particularly like Louella (on which Marcia makes more use of her piano than usual for this album), Thibodaux Louisiana (with a touch of Cajun). She's so innocent (an outstanding ballad) and You make me happy (a great song to close the album) - but every song here is brilliant.

If you like great rock music with a variety of other influences, this is for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong material, variable production
It's refreshing to hear music that's sung and played by a serious musician: Marcia Ball's exciting New Orleans-styled piano and her committed vocals are a happy invitation to an uplifting listening experience. This album sounds like it was recorded...in an actual *recording* studio? Yes, the air is a little tight around the mike, but do I hear a real acoustic piano?
The highlight of the album is "She's So Innocent", a kind of album sub-title, a mello and sombre ballad beautifully rendered by Marcia. This is the quietest slow number here and the most impressive. "I Have The Right To Know" is reminiscent of the best of Percy Sledge, with a dash of Domino (as in Fats). Like many of the selections, however, it runs about one minute too long. The Don Covay co-composition "I'm Coming Down With The Blues" is a great addition. It's a lesser-known slow number and it's soulful throughout.
The best uptempo item is "Fly On The Wall", actually a mid-tempo. The arrangement is perfect with backing vocals well mixed. A contender is the Ball composition "Louella", somewhat reminiscent of Frankie Ford's "Roberta" [aka "Loberta"], a fun lyric about some chick's penchant for making private business public. Must make a nice *set* entry.
"Count The Days" has an entertaining hook, but the arrangement is third-rate. With lyrics presumeably derived from the Presley-related "Milcow Blues Boogie" and a chorus possibly based upon The Beatles "All Together Now" you'd think this track would cook, but the mindless repetition of "...one, two, three..." and the length of the tune leaves one perplexed by a poorly integrated novelty effect. Maybe a fun after hours sing-along but not a number to hold the third position on an album by an esteemed artist.
The CD closes with Marcia's "You Make Me So Happy", an engaging track which directs you right back to Track One. Perhaps by leaving off a few numbers and simplifying a few more the album would really cook. Still a notable effort.
[Marcia is included on the Island Visual Arts video "Let The Good Times Roll - A Film About The Roots Of American Music"].

5-0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars Ain't Enough But It Is All That I Can Do
I am a long term Marcia Ball fan. Her music and piano boogie really energizes me. Recently she appeared in concert locally (Norman OK). I took my two daughters who are in their early 20s and who were not familiar with Ms Ball. They were both mesmerized by the talent and the music of this lady. Any of her CDs are a bargain. All of her stuff is fun. All of her music is hot ... hot ... hot!

5-0 out of 5 stars "talent in the purest form...Marcia Ball"
Think of boogie woogie, zydeco, piano skills unmatched and a great expressive style...the result is Marcia Ball...memories of past releases come to mind ~ "Hot Tamale Baby", "Gatorhythms", "Blue House", "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and "Sing It", all on the Rounder label, composer of blues with lyrics pouring straight from the heart...I'm a big, big fan, and this latest release from Alligator Records ~ "Presumed Innocent", spells a winner.

From ballads to New Orleans blues, Marcia keeps them coming straight at you, entire CD is a must have...don't pass this one up...Can't say enough, except...we need more of the same...so spin this, sit back and enjoy, cause' Marcia's so happy when she's with you...you're going to have a ~ BALL!

Total Time: 52:53 on 13 Tracks ~ Alligator Records ALCD-4879 ~ (2001)

5-0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but I like it
I was shopping in the Amaxon's Alligator web site and I saw Marcia Ball, I bought it on a wim. Not hard blues but good, fun rythm and blues. Great stuff. I don't have any others, but I will. Great Piano by Marcia, and great guitar, especially on Thibodaux, Louisiana, A great rocking tune. Delbert McClinton stops by on Scene of the Crime. If you like old fashioned fun Rythm and Blues this is great stuff... ... Read more


112. Zydeco [Putumayo]
list price: $15.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00003OP0X
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 4137
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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From the get-go, Putumayo Presents Zydeco is the down-and-dirtiest most-rockin' Saturday night at a sweaty bayou dance hall or juke joint a non-native can experience. Born of the Creole community in Louisiana's backwaters and moving outward to Texas and California, Zydeco bumps, grinds, and is a wang dang doodle of a big time. Youngblood Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band rip through "Co Fa" with their trademark double-kick beat, the low-end-amped-up sound making heartbreak sound like a raunchy roll in the hay. Rosie Ledet's "You're No Good for Me" is a wailer for all lovers scorned, featuring thudding bass, wiry guitar lines, and sax in a one-upmanship dance with her accordion. Beau Jocque growls, Jude Taylor trades accordion licks with his band's organist, and Queen Ida reigns supreme on "My Girl Josephine." As the Creole Farmers sing on the opening cut, "We gonna party 'til the cows come home!" --Paige La Grone ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sure to please Zydeco fans!
Great compilation album -- every track a winner! Wonderful for listening and/or dancing. Flawlessly-recorded, authentic "real deal" Zydeco music!

5-0 out of 5 stars Our child loves this CD
I received this CD as a gift, and I love it. I have a 18 month old who begins to dance about when we just say the word Zydeco. This is a fun CD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Smoking!
I'm a native northerner who didn't know beans about Zydeco until I went to a Swamp Romp festival and was blown away by BooZoo's Magic Sounds. This CD was recommended to me as a great introduction to zydeco. It has become my favorite CD. I have since bought many other zydeco CDs but none as good. Rosie Ledet's "You're No Good For Me" is just killer! Even my 7-year-old asks to hear it over and over. I've "discovered" many great Zydeco musicians through this CD, such as Nathan and the Cha Chas. This music definitely makes you put your troubles on the back burner and dance.

5-0 out of 5 stars Putumayo Presents: Zydeco
While alot of the tracks don't contain that rythem that I think of as "zydeco", it's still a collection of great Louisiana music. My husband, an honest to goodness Creole, related to Queen Ida, listens to this non-stop. What more can I say?

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes you want to get up and DANCE!
My first Zydeco experience took place a few years ago when Queen Ida visited the Twin Cities. I made my first trip to New Orleans this Spring and purchased Putumayo Presents: Zydeco at a local music store. The real thing doesn't come around here often enough, but I certainly can "cha cha cha" in my living room with this CD! ... Read more


113. So Many Rivers
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B00008NG59
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5098
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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If Bonnie Raitt played piano and had a little more New Orleans in her, she'd be proud to claim the soulful sincerity of this release as her own. Producer Stephen Bruton (long Raitt's lead guitarist) polishes this groove-laden set with rich arrangements of horns and harmonies, as Cajun accordionist Wayne Toups, former Storyville vocalist Malford Milligan, and blues guitarist Pat Boyack provide additional sonic spice. Though the second-line syncopation of "Foreclose on the House of Love," the buoyant swamp pop of "Honeypie" (with Toups), and an acoustic, mandolin-driven transformation of the funky "Three Hundred Pounds of Hongry" find the veteran blueswoman in playful spirits, she shows her depth as a balladeer on originals such as "Give Me a Chance" and "The Storm," as well as a revival of Arthur Alexander's classic "If It's Really Got to Be This Way." Between the river towns of New Orleans (Ball's musical homeland) and Austin (where she's based), these 14 cuts cover a lot of ground. --Don McLeese ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars More like it.
I was disappointed with Marcia's last album, "Presumed Innocent", as it had a somewhat antiseptic sound for this most organic of performers. "So Many Rivers" sounds much more vibrant and closer in feel to her best album: "Let Me Play with Your Poodle". Her playing and that of her band is solid and rollicking. The mix between rockers and ballads is perfect. However, to experience Marcia at her best you need to see her in concert. This album should provide some excellent fodder for her current live set. A live album would really do Marcia justice. ... Read more


114. Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002MNC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 13797
Average Customer Review: 3.32 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very impressive!
A lot of tribute albums seem to really stray from the original songs and become more about the person doing the cover. On this one, however, you can tell that everyone was very serious about what they did. Every song is done very tastefully and you can tell that all the artists probably had a great time in making these songs. I love the Spin Doctors rendition of "Spanish Castle Magic." It has their signature style and TONS of energy. A definite standout. Buddy Guy's take on "Red House" is also good. It is done in old blues fashion with just a hint of Buddy's wildness. "Hey Joe" done by Ice T's band Body Count is very intense. Very tight band and heartfelt vocals. Nice job! Seal and Jeff Beck come together for a very cool version of "Manic Depression." Seal's silky-smooth voice sounds great and so does Jeff's tone. Nigel Kennedy does one of the instrumentals on this one; "Fire." Pat Matheny does the other ("Third Stone From the Sun") and both sound great. Jimi would no doubt be very proud of the work by these two masters. The last, and in my opinion, best track on this album is "Hey Baby (Land of the New Rising Sun)" done by M.A.C.C., which stands for McCready (Mike, guitarist from Pearl Jam), Ament (Jeff, bassist from Pearl Jam), Cameron (Matt, drummer from Soundgarden) and Cornell (Chris, singer from Soundgarden). This is unbelievable. It has the moody feel of these two bands and the amazing vocals of Chris "Leatherlungs" Cornell. This is a very powerful song and must be heard to be believed! Overall, this is a very, very, very good album. I didn't know what to expect when I bought this one a few years ago, but boy am I glad I did! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

2-0 out of 5 stars Defiles the legacy of one of history's great guitarists
Stone Free, a collection of Jimi Hendrix covers, attempts to celebrate Hendrix's legacy and fails miserably.

The album's newer artists seem daunted by the task of covering God's gift to the guitar, and end up only adding to the misconception that Hendrix's songs are a calculated mixture of screeching guitars and drugged-out vocals.

The guity parties range from the Cure, with their dancefloor destruction (and I mean that in a bad way) of "Purple Haze" to Belly with a lethargic "Are you Experienced?"

P.M. Dawn is its wimpy worst on "You Got Me Floatin'", Pearl Jam and Soundgarden members collaborate on an especially pretentious version of "Hey Baby", and does anybody really care what the Spin Doctors sound like on "Spanish Castle Magic"? Didn't think so!

The CD's few "mature" artists fare reasonably better. Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy turns in a blistering performance of "Red House" and Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck actually have the guitar chops to justify their appearance on a Hendrix tribute. Come to think of it, this CD could have benefited from more of the same: Where are Hendrix fans and guitar greats Pete Townshend, Prince, and Eddie Van Halen when you need them?

In the end, Stone Free only proves what Hendrix fans already know: the best versions of Hendrix's songs are by Hendrix himself.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tribute albums SUCK
Tribute albums SUCK Buy the originals dammit, don't be a complete loser.

4-0 out of 5 stars Funky rendition of Purple Haze by The Cure
I bought this album for the funky rendition of Purple Haze by The Cure. I love that rendition. In this tribute album, the artists give their own renditions to the songs, not trying to imitate Hendrix. I like it.

1-0 out of 5 stars Cruddier than a backed up septic tank.
I'm really sorry, but this is simply a bad cd. While there are some good songs(never anything close to the original, of course), the "various artists" who added their versions of Hendrix's genuis to this cd shouldv'e put them on one of their own cds. With this and that Pepsi commercial, i wonder more and more if Hendrix's relatives aren't just whoring his image out for cash(which is cruelly ironic, if you know how Hendrix was milked to death by his management and those around him while he was alive). ... Read more


115. Electric Mud
list price: $11.98
our price: $10.99
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Asin: B000002OCP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 21523
Average Customer Review: 3.09 out of 5 stars
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This is the infamous "somebody-put-something-in-the-Waters" LP from 1968. A relative hit for Chess, it features the exalted bluesman bellowing over psychedelicized arrangements that owe more to Steppenwolf than Willie Dixon. Waters himself complained that the drums were too busy and the lead guitar sounded like a cat's meow. Not a bad critique. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

Reviews (22)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not excactly horrible, just superflous
With the exception of a terrible rendition of the Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together", "Electric Mud" isn't unbeararble to listen to, it's just not particularly good either.
Muddy Waters' vocals are fine, sure, but the psychedelic arrangements and aimless guitar wailing doesn't suit the songs.

Guitarists Pete Cosey, Ronald Faulkner and Phil Upchurch, who back Muddy Waters on these eight songs, are probably quite talented players, but Muddy's brand of tough, downhome electric blues suffers greatly at the hands of extended fuzzy solos, manic drumming, and occasional wailing soprano saxophones which bounce around aimlessly like loose basketballs.

If you're really into 60s psychedelia, you might like "Electric Mud" just fine. If you're into the blues, don't waste your money on this album, which is neither original nor particularly well executed; rather it's a classically wrongheaded, crass update of the blues for a supposed "modern" audience, and everything here is readily available in much, much better versions.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Crime Against Humanity!!
The reviewers below must be joking. This is an abomination - probably the worst album I've ever heard. I'm not a purist, just a lover of good music - and even Muddy recognised that this was awful. Much maligned? It really can't be maligned enough. By any standard this is truly dreadul - an attempt by an ill-informed record label to make Muddy Waters more accessible to white audiences. How? Who knows. Do yourself a favour, if you're after "Electric Mud", go for either "Hard Again" or "I'm Ready" (both produced by Johnny Winters). Poisoned chalk and an epicurist's cheese!

4-0 out of 5 stars Flower Power Mud!!
A great combination of Muddy's powerful blues growl, and the musicianship of some of the best psychedelic players-Phil Upchurch, Pete Cosey(who later played with Miles Davis), etc.. Howlin' Wolf did an even wilder album at the same time(1968), with the same musicians, which I would like to see released on cd. I know a lot of people consider this a stinker, but I like this strange compelling mixture of tradition and modernism. FOUR STARS!!

2-0 out of 5 stars I Don't Get It. This Sure Ain't The Muddy I Know & Love
Just a lot of fuzz-tone and reverb...over-done, over-produced...over rated.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as the critics say it is.
Aside from the pointless meandering of "She's Alright," this isn't a bad album. It certainly isn't the Holy Grail of blues, but it isn't as bad as Waters or the critics say it is.

In case you don't know, Muddy Waters, in 1968, wasn't making any more hits. In a desperate attempt, Chess Records decided to put him with some avant-garde jazz musicians and make a Jimi Hendrix like album.

It's not that bad. I Just Want To Make Love To You fits in perfectly with Are You Experienced, and I really like Mannish Boy. Let's Spend The Night Together is quite good, even though everyone disagrees with me. The only song I hated was She's Alright, which went on and on with pointless soloing, and an instrumental version of "My Girl."

I'm sure Muddy was really pissed off that he couldn't make a real blues album, but this is ok. Then again, I always liked the electric blues of the 60s. Listen first, then buy it if you like it. ... Read more


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

Reviews (12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


117. King of the Blues [Box]
list price: $59.98
our price: $53.99
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Asin: B000002OMC
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 6101
Average Customer Review: 4.92 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential recording

This four-CD box set remains the absolutely definitive B.B. King collection, with 77 recordings and a biographical book that contains the great singer-guitarist's own remembrances of his decades-long career. It samples every stage of his development, from his days struggling to craft his music in the shadow of influences like T-Bone Walker and Lonnie Johnson to his latter-day pairings with rockers like Bonnie Raitt and Gary Moore. The one constant is his open-hearted singing and the soulful, contemplative solos he squeezes from his beloved guitar Lucille. These discs, of course, embrace all his essential hits, from his first--1951's "Three O'Clock Blues"--to his 1970 smash "The Thrill Is Gone," which took King to the pop charts and made him a household name. If this package is too lavish for the budget, try the excellent Best of B.B. King, Volume 1, which collects many of King's great early works. --Ted Drozdowski ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars You Need This Set
I was on the line of whether I just liked B.B. or really liked B.B. After I bought this box set I upgraded to loving B.B. This is one of the greatest collections of tunes I have ever heard. Muddy is still the king of blues in my book but B.B. definitely deserves to wear a crown too.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Box Set fit for a King
I grew up on His Music thanks to My Family I became aware of Blues Music&also B.B King.this Box Set Highlights His Career Between Him&Lucille.His Voice&Playing are something else no matter what time period.on Guitar for me B.B. King has always had a Sound that no matter where you are in the World you know that it is Him.B.B. King is One of the Baddest Cats Ever to Make Music.His Story telling&VIbe is very Addictive.

5-0 out of 5 stars "He paid the Cost , To be the Boss"!
I just bought this box set last week and have been enjoying it like no tomorrow. I have many records of the top Blues singers going back to Robert Johnson and Bessie Smith, but I do believe that this is the best "complete" set on one artist! Man can them songs take you back. If I knew that this collection was this good I would of bought it years ago when it first came out (1992). No matter what your Budget is ,if you are really into the Blues you should buy this set - even if it means eating half lunches for a week or two, you won't be sorry. After hearing these tunes "The Thrill is Back"!

4-0 out of 5 stars A really like it but...
Due to some unfathomable screw-up, the 90 second guitar intro was cut off of Gambler's Blues! This is a great intro and you can find the whole song on the 2-CD Anthology or Classic Live Performances.

This set needs to be remastered and songs added to fill-er-up to near 80 minutes per CD. Though there is already 72-74 minutes per CD, there is enough other good BB to easily add 20 minutes more of music for the 4 CDs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
BB King is an amazing artist and this box set is a must for whoever can get their hands on it. Now I know where the title Lucille came from for his guitar, which he so eloquently describes for us in the song, just great storytelling. The second disc is simply awesome with a great start with "Going Down Slow," an extremely well done live performance! You can completely imagine exactly what BB is talking about thinking about a young man coming up to Chicago and blowing all of his hard earned money on a good time, and being abandoned by all his "friends" when the money runs out. BB knows the blues, and he sings like he was right next to you during the hardest of those times, and somehow you don't feel so all alone and your problems don't seem as miserable. I can't imagine a more talented performer, he really captures your whole undivided attention. There are simply too many highlights to name, but get this set and find out a great artists' work! And this box set doesn't just take it slow, there are rockers (She's Dynamite), jazzy ballads (try "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"), smokey blues, blazing guitar, cool guitar, the whole gamut. This is entertainment as fine as can be found. Take your time with this set and really get to know it, you'll be really glad you did. ... Read more


118. So Many Roads: Live in Concert [CD Bonus Tracks]
list price: $14.98
our price: $14.98
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Asin: B000004BJP
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 42923
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars OOOOOOOTTTTIIIS RRRUUUUSSSHHHH !!!!!!
This album is a must have for fans of blues guitar, or just great blues music. Otis Rush is a force to reckoned with on this album, his guitar is alive in his hands and sings, squeals and grunts at times. His singing is powerful, and always tasteful.
Right from the opening track his 'blue guitar' hits the mark and never waivers. All Your Love is well done, and I also loved that he did a version of Kenny Burrell's Chitlin's Con Carne !!! very cool !
Otis Rush is awesome and certainly lives up to his nick-name as 'King of Singing String.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome Blues Power
Here is some of the most perfect blues guitar playing you will ever hear. There's even a smokin' version of Kenny Burrell's Chitlins Con Carne. You can hear the warmth & slight crackle of the tubes in Otis'amp. Tone to the bone. Majestic vibrato. Spine tingling singing. Otis' only living equal in this music (that I can think of right now) is Buddy Guy. I have several Otis Rush CD's. Highest recommendation to this one, Right Place, Wrong Time, and Cold Day in Hell (if it's still in print, I'm not sure). Blues Power.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this CD. The sound is superb. There are no clunkers here
You can feel his guitar sing beautifuly on every track. His vibrato is second to none. If you like it, get "Right Place Wrong Time".

5-0 out of 5 stars You can almost hear Otis breath through the speakers!
This is one of the most Raw in your face Blues recordings I have ever heard! Otis sings with deep conviction and plays with a passion and makes every note count! The crowd is very enthusiastic and this adds to the excitement! One of my all time favorites at The Crazy Coyote Blues Power Show at 1490 KOTY AM (1490koty.com) Yakima Nation Reservation station in southcentral Washington state.

5-0 out of 5 stars Otis Rush is the Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Otis Rush is just sometimes with me another dimension. Otis has influenced every major Blues artist playing guitar since the 60's. This is easily one of his best listening Cd's with the performance and selection of songs here. He is one of the VERY few who are still alive from the 50's cutting edge consisting of Otis,Freddie King,Magic Sam,Luther Allison,Buddy Guy and Eddy Clearwater of the West Side Chicago sound. He is in Japan here where some of his best performances have been recorded. He is scheduled to go back to Japan to tour in May 2001. Hopefully someone will have the foresight to record him on audio and video. I rank this CD in my Top Ten of alltime Blues CD's. Its a must for any lover of the blues! ... Read more


119. Release the Hound
list price: $16.98
our price: $13.99
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Asin: B0001XAMSQ
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 22071
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As the first artist on Chicago's esteemed Alligator imprint (and the reason owner Bruce Iglauer started the company), wild-man slide guitarist Hound Dog Taylor has attained legendary status. His crude, propulsive sound even inspired the label's "Genuine Houserockin' Music" motto. Taylor left behind only two studio releases and a live disc when he died in 1975, but Iglauer has now unearthed more previously unreleased material. Recorded between 1971 and 1975, Release the Hound contains a mix of studio and live material that is every bit the equal of Taylor's existing catalog--and even more raw and primitive. The six-fingered six-stringer explodes through a volatile collection of boogie, blues, and good-time shuffles that makes Elmore James sound like Keb' Mo' in comparison. Hound Dog and his riotous bass-free backing duo of guitar and near-tribal drums were not technical perfectionists, but they could sure fire up a party thanks to Taylor's combustive mix of scorching slide playing and magnetic personality. --Hal Horowitz ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Unreleased and raucous!
I was chomping at the bit when I heard this was going to be released. This new release of vault material contains 3 studio recordings and 11 live tracks. My appetite was whetted by the 2 unissued live tracks from these concerts included on the Hound Dog Taylor Deluxe Edition. For the uninitiated Taylor's band which featured Brewer Phillips on second guitar and Ted Harvey on drums (Levi Warren deputizes for Harvey on 3 tracks)is the blues equivalent of a garage rock band. Hound Dog's combination of a cheap Japanese guitar and his frenetic slide playing is unforgettable. Most of the tracks are live and although the sound may not be up to current standards, it sounds as good as most bootlegs and the energy of the performances makes up for any sound deficiencies. The live tracks are a mixture of outtakes from the live "Beware Of The Dog" album and various radio broadcasts. Among the unissued tracks is the energetic studio instrumental "Phillip's Screwdriver", a cover of Freddie King's "Sen-Sa-Shun" and the Howlin' Wolf tribute "The Dog Meets The Wolf". Taylor wrenches emotion from his cover of Elmore James' "It Hurts Me Too" and Taylor's autobiographical slow blues "Things Don't Work Out Right". Strong versions of Taylor classics like "She's Gone", "Sadie" , "Walking The Ceiling" and "See Me In The Evening/It's Alright" are among the other highlights. Every track whether an original or cover contains the distinctive stamp of the Houserockers. Taylor's slashing slide guitar and infectious sense of humor shine through making this one of the best vault reissues of the year. Highly recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars god damn!!! this is raw and furious!!! god bless hound dog..
god bless hound dog taylor. that's all. just god bless his guitar, his voice, his soul and his blues...
I'm a younger blues fan(25) from Chicagoland, and while I'd heard OF Hound Dog Taylor for the longest time, I'd never HEARD Hound Dog Taylor, y'know what I mean?
I read a review in the Illinois Entertainer about this album coming out and they described him as a cross between the blues and punk. That got my attention real quick, as I've also dug on punk rock my whole life...
went out to my local record shop, they had the promo, listened...and holy f&*^% s*^&^!!!! I immediately fell in love!!! It moved me in ways I love to be moved. it touched my heart. I wished to god I had been at the shows on the record. I wished I had gotten to see him play!! why hadn't I known earlier how INCREDIBLE Hound Dog was/is?
Hound Dog's slide is absolutely BLISTERING. his voice is raw and strained. the band(the houserockers), comprised of a drum kit and another guitar(yes, a 3 piece) is unreal. The album cover is a great painting by another favorite musician of mine and Chicago-via-Wales local Jon Langford(ex-Mekons). Inside the album tells some great anecdotal info on Hound Dog and the band and how they played for practically nothing and Hound Dog on a cheap Japanese guitar with a slide made from a brass kitchen table leg! hell yes! Hound Dog is raw and vicious and touxhes your heart all at once. If you dig slide, boogie, roadhouse-juke joint, punk and or blues...hell...just get it and be done with it. get bit by the hound dog and you'll never be the same again...
cheers hound dog

4-0 out of 5 stars More fun than any of his previous albums...
I was turned on to Hound Dog Taylor by a friend in college. I always liked 'Beware of the Dog' but this album is even more exciting. There are some recording imperfections but chances are , if you're a Hound Dog fan, you're already used to this. Regardless, these performances are riveting and loads of fun. Don't wait on this one!

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Great Live Album for Hound Dog Fans!
The one thing those who were lucky enough to see Hound Dog Taylor play live all agree with, is that he always put on the best of shows. Like the first live Hound Dog album, "Beware Of The Dog", on this 2004 release, Release the Dog, we can hear Taylor living it up with the audience both before and after he would get into a number, and like on his first live album, you can feel right down to your bones, just how grand he did play live.

If it wasn't for new technology, chances are we never would have gotten to hear this album, as the recordings were all very raw, with lots of tape hiss, etc. But most of that has been cleaned up, and we now get to hear a bunch of his songs live that we never before have, and if your a fan, you will be delighted at what you will hear.

The album, like so many of his past studio LPs, blasts off with an explosion from the Dog's guitar, with the Elmore James cover "Wild About You Babe". This live take is better than the one we hear him play on his debut album, and it's the best song on the album. But every live song on here is excellent, the man just had a knack for playing to a crowd! We get to hear him play "Sadie" with fine results, and another James cover, "It Hurts Me Too", is also tops. Then there is the slower number, "Things Don't Work Out Right", which sounds like a rework of his song "Freddie's Blues". It contains different lyrics - with drummer Ted Harvey adding background talk just like he does on "Freddie's Blues", but the music here is a bit more up tempo, with more of Hound Dog's guitar here than what is heard on "Freddie's Blues".

We also get to hear the original drummer for the Houserockers, Levi Warren on three songs, "She's Gone", "It Hurts Me Too", and " The Dog Meets The Wolf" (a tribute to Howling Wolf), which comes from the first live gig that the Hound and his band ever played outside of the Chicago area.

In addition to the live stuff, this LP also contains three studio recordings. Two are alternative takes of "Walking On The Ceiling" - which contains a nice drum solo by Harvey, and "Gonna Send You Back To Georgia", the song that would later metamorphous into "Give Me Back My Wig". The third studio cut is something that was never released before, "Phillips Screwdriver", an instrumental featuring Brewer Phillips playing a fine lead guitar, as Hound Dog lays down a heavy bass line.

The album closes off with an untitled little rap between the Dog and Harvey, which is priceless. What I reviewed here is the pre-released promo album, I only hope that they include this little gem on the official release.

Hound Hog has been gone for almost 30 years now, so hearing anything unreleased from him is cool. But don't expect something along the lines of the compilation, posthumous album "Genuine Houserocking Music", which was an okay album, but not anywhere as good as this one, which is great! What a true joy for all Hound Dog fans! ... Read more


120. The Chess Box
list price: $49.98
our price: $44.99
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Asin: B000002OBL
Catlog: Music
Sales Rank: 5659
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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This is probably the best Wolf compilation there is in terms of comprehensiveness and digestibility. The problem with collecting the works of prolific artists is that there's so much material; fortunately, Chess made some good selections. Chronicling Howlin' Wolf's career from Memphis, through Chicago, and on into his later years. There are snippets of interviews, as well as the classic tracks you'd expect: "All Night Boogie", "Howlin' For My Darling", "Evil", "Forty Four", "Spoonful", and "I'd Better Go Now." This box set is a bit much to swallow if you're not already a fan of the Wolf, but if you are, this is a great way to get his best work in one place. --Genevieve Williams ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars He's the Wolf!!!
If life were a college course in Blues Appreciation, at least three aural textbooks would be required listening: the Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson and the Chess Boxes of Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf. Just purchasing a CD or two of any of the other blues masters will suffice (for awhile anyway), but these three giants produced so much listenable and danceable music that nothing less than complete box sets will do. Even at 71 tracks, this set still feels incomplete; where is Wolf's fabulous live recording of "Highway 49" from the Newport Folk Festival? Or "Do the Do" from London Howlin Wolf Sessions, featuring Eric Clapton and Hubert Sumlin's fantastic guitar figures? But these are minor quibbles. How can you argue with an album that starts with a lonesome Wolf moan ("Moanin at Midnight") and ends (well, one track from the end, anyway) with a frail Wolf teaching a roomful of top blues acolytes (Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts) how to play acoustic guitar on "Little Red Rooster" the way Charlie Patton himself taught Wolf some 40-50 years ago? What an experience! His powerful, gargling-battery-acid voice (only Blind Willie Johnson and Captain Beefheart had more abused throats) now a shadow of it's former self, his commanding presence still moves the assembled royalty of British blues-rock to "get on it" and produce a memorable take. In between are too many highlights to mention, including "Killing Floor" (probably the only song set in an animal slaughterhouse), "Back Door Man" (later covered memorably by the Doors), "I Ain't Superstitious" (also covered well by Jeff Beck Group and Savoy Brown), and most memorably, his signature song "Smokestack Lightning." As a bonus, there are several snippets from an interview recording just a few years before his death in which he reveals how he got his name, how he got started playing the blues, and the "hidden" meanings behind both "Smokestack Lightning" and "I Asked Her For Water". These glimpses into the real, behind-the scenes Wolf persona, each about 30 seconds to one minute long, are priceless. Throughout the set, Wolf is supported by first-rate musicians, particularly the aforementioned Sumlin, who was such a good guitarist that he was "borrowed" regularly by the likes of Muddy Waters and Little Walter, but always made his way back to Wolf's pack. This set and all it's great music should keep most listener's happy for hours. Now, when will some great writer take up the challenge of giving Howlin' Wolf the biography he deserves? (Waters and Walter already have fine bios.) Until then, the Wolf fan will just have to make do with the (excellent) liner notes from this set and play it once again to hear the magic of the Wolf moanin' at midnight, or at any time of day he so desires.

5-0 out of 5 stars Footnote about voice of Howlin' Wolf
In his excellent review, "anders_pj" stated that nobody has ever copied the sandpaper voice of Howlin' Wolf. Well, there is one significant exception. This is the voice of Captain Beefheart (born Don Vliet). IT IS AN IDENTICAL COPY of Howlin' Wolf's. Captain Beefheart is a genius and one the most creative musicians to come out of the U.S.A.

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Wolf collection
This is a sublime, exquisitely packaged collection of Howlin' Wolf's awe-inspiring brand of blues.
Just under 3½ hours of music, opening with Wolf's eerie, wordless "throat singing" on 1951's "Moaning At Midnight", and ending with the opening track, "Moving", off his final studio album.

A lot of people have covered Wolf's songs, but none have come close to matching his ferocious sandpaper voice, and Howlin' Wolf in his prime was without a doubt the most electrifying performer the Chicago blues clubs had even experienced. Standing 6'4" and weighing 275 lbs in his prime, Wolf towered over everybody, literally as well as figuratively.

Starting off as a strict Charley Patton-imitator, Chester Arthur Burnett showed up in the juke joints of Mississippi in the late 30s with one of the first electric guitars anyone had ever seen, and when he finally started recording (for Sam Phillips' Sun Records in 1951), he was 41 years old and had been performing for two decades down in the cotton belt.
He suddenly had two hits on the R&B list at the same time ("Moanin' At Midnight" and the clanging, piano-driven "How Many More Years"), and in the winter of 1953, Wolf headed out of the South (in his own brand new $4,000 car), settling in Chicago, Illinois, where he would record for Chess Records right up until his death from kidney failure in January, 1976.
"-I'm the onliest one", he said, "-drove out of the South like a gentleman!"

"The Chess Box" collects every hit the Wolf ever had, as well as B-sides, album tracks, rare acoustic solo performances, and a few short interview snippets. The only thing that could have made this collection any better would have been a fourth CD of live tracks.
The first CD collects Wolf's singles from 1951-1955, including the up-tempo, R&B-styled "Mr Highway Man" (excellent piano playing by Albert Williams), the Charley Patton-classic "Saddle My Pony", a remake of John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson's "Bluebird" (oddly credited to John Lee Hooker), the classics "Evil" and "Forty-Four", and the harp-driven "Just My Kind".

The first fifteen songs feature Wolf's original lead guitarist Willie Johnson, after which Lee Cooper takes over.
Johnson's aggressive, fiery guitar playing suited Wolf's songs perfectly, and he was surrounded by a slew of excellent blues pianists, from Ike Turner to L.C. Hubert, but around 1955 a more fixed band constellation started to take form, featuring bassist, arranger and composer Willie Dixon, and a fabulous young guitar player, Hubert Sumlin, who would stay with the Wolf right up until his death, and who became an idol for guitar players like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page.

Disc 2 is even better, mixing Wolf's originals with Willie Dixon's more contemporary compositions. Highlights include the all-time blues classic "Smokestack Lightnin'", composed by the Wolf himself, and featuring some of his best harp playing, as well as axe-men Hubert Sumlin and Willie Johnson playing side by side (one of only two side where they appear together).
And then there's Wolf's sublime take on Tommy Johnson's awesome "I Asked Her For Water (she brought me gasoline)", Dixon's "I Ain't Superstitious", "Shake For Me", "The Red Rooster", "Howlin' For My Darling" and "Down In The Bottom", and the classic "Sitting On Top Of The World". The supremely catchy "(Meet Me) Down In The Bottom" features Johnny Johnson on piano and Jimmy Rogers on guitar, but it's Wolf himself playing the fills and the main slide guitar riff heard during the intro and the instrumental break, and he plays as well on "The Red Rooster", "You'll Be Mine" and several other tracks.

Disc 3 opens with one of Willie Dixon's best compositions for Wolf, the up-tempo, almost blues-rock-like "Hidden Charms". Backed by two sax players, Donald Hankins and Elmore James' saxist J.T. Brown, Hubert Sumlin plays some of his greatest lead guitar, and many consider his 18-bar solo the best guitar solo ever recorded.

Dixon's other contributions, the silly "Three Hundred Pounds Of Joy" and "Built For Comfort", are almost novelty songs, but the superb arrangement makes them work.

And the rest of the disc features mainly Wolf's own songs, plus a powerful rendition of "Dust My Broom", and a 1970 recording of "The Red Rooster" featuring Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and Stevie Winwood.
The sax-augumented "Love Me Darlin'" rolls along like a steam train, creating a magnificent groove, and Wolf's gravelly vocals on "I Walked From Dallas" and the awesome "New Crawling King Snake" must be heard to be believed.

CD 3 also includes two interesting acoustic solo performances, as well as the funky "My Mind Is Ramblin'" and "My Country Sugar Mama" (fine harp playing by the Wolf), and the menacing "Commit A Crime".

But the best song on the disc (and probably the best song of Wolf's career) is without a doubt the magnificent "Killing Floor", Howlin' Wolf's own composition and one of the defining classics of electric Chicago blues.
It opens with a supremely catchy guitar riff from Hubert Sumlin (Buddy Guy is playing the acoustic slap-back rhythm guitar), and the two-sax horn section of Arnold Rogers and Donald Hankins plays soul-revue stabs. And when the mighty Wolf finally opens his mouth it becomes clear that though Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix may have nicked the riff, the song itself belongs forever to the Howlin' Wolf, and those who dare try to cover it do so at their peril.

An essential addition to any serious collection of electric blues.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must for true blue Blues fans
This is an excellent set. It covers a wide range of time and includes a diverse group of accompanyists. Howlin' Wolf is one of the great Blues Men. The booklet is really helpful in learning the history of the man and his music. I highly recommend the boxed set.

5-0 out of 5 stars Will keep you Howlin at the moon all night!
Essential for any blues fan..... ... Read more


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