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Collins' horn-laden brand of blues music doesn't burn with the same intensity as that of Howlin' Wolf or Elmore James. Nor is it as sweaty as Muddy Waters' swaggering Chess singles. But "The Master of the Telecaster" was nevertheless a highly influental, very original bluesman, and this collection includes are slow, wailing ballads with smouldering solos, muscular up-tempo numbers with a great horn section, and first-rate mastering and production.
Guest stars include The Memphis Horns, B.B. King, saxist Branford Marsalis, former Thunderbird Kim Wilson, and Irish guitarist Gary Moore, and highlights include the supremely funky "If You Love Me Like You Say", a powerful reading of the classic "Honey Hush", the slow, intense "Tired Man", and the deep groove of "The Moon Is Full".
A little too much organ here and there for my taste, but that's a minor complaint. Most of what is here is just great, and "Collins Mix" is a fine sample of Albert Collins' too-brief career, and a great place for newcomers to start.
"Ice Axe Cometh - The Best Of 1978-86" would serve as a fine companion volume, by the way. It chronicles Collins' Alligator years, and only two tracks overlap with this CD.