'Otis Spann is the Blues' was Spann's first solo album, recorded in 1960 after Spann had spent many years as pianist in Muddy Water's band.
The album features some Spann compositions, alongside a number of blues standards. Spann seems to have been very fond of Maceo Merriweather's Worried Life Blues (how many times did he record it??) The version here is superb. Tracks such as The Hard Way, Otis in the Dark and I Got Rambling on my Mind are also particularly strong - although I wouldn't say there's a duff track on the album.
The album is also bolstered by Robert Lockwood Jnr. (Robert Johnson's stepson), who adds some mean guitar licks and/or rhythm to a number of tracks. Things really get going on Great Northern Stomp, where Spann and Lockwood Jnr trade solos.
Otis Spann is the Blues is a cracking album - demonstrating Spann's virtuosity to the full. He isn't a bad singer either! A must-have for any Spann fan, and a great introduction to classic piano blues for anyone else.