The compilation is an unpredictable, ornery beast, best approached with caution and a healthy degree of scepticism. Not so this exemplary collection, which gathers together 24 likely suspects, not to mention a few unlikely ones, offering the grateful listener 74 mins of some of the best, rootsiest delta blues you`re likely to hear in one place.
The expected line-up is present & correct - the devilishly mesmerising Robert Johnson, marvellous Mississippi Fred McDowell, ol` Charley Patton (whose High Water Everywhere Bob Dylan paid tribute to in his own song of that title), Son House, Muddy Waters, Mississippi John Hurt, Bukka White, Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Williams and Skip James. Hey, Glyn, why are you bothering to type all these names? Glad you asked, it`s `cause they`re such great names, an` I just wanna list `em is all.
There`re also lesser known, but equally stunning, tracks by the likes of Asie Payton, Willie Brown, Louise Johnson, Robert Wilkins & let`s not forget Bo Carter who tells his woman "Don`t Mash My Digger So Deep". Well, who wouldn`t?
Ain`t a dud track here, and you get the Mississippi Sheiks too, who - in the words of Dylan again, "must`ve been something to behold". They certainly must.
Listening to this CD may well make you want to pour yourself a whiskey, build that front porch you`ve always longed for, or even pick up a guitar. You won`t be bored, you won`t wish it were any longer or shorter, and you`ll be very glad you put it on instead of whatever else was in your mind to play.
The sleevenotes & pics are a delight (especially the big one of mean old Muddy in his element) and all in all the whole thing reeks of class.
"I`m so glad, I`m so glad, I`m glad, I`m glad, I`m glad..."
I am, too.