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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Blues, 4 July 2003
By 
BiblioPhil (Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Blues Collection (Audio CD)
Many of the tracks on this excellent collection are recorded live and, whereas this does diminish the sound quality somewhat, it creates a wonderfully rustic feel to the whole album. Indeed, listening to Muddy Waters sing Hoochie Coochie Man in what sounds like a smoky dive somewhere in Mississippi, you feel a raw energy that is really the core of Blues music.
Highlights on this album - of which there are many - include Luther Allison's version of the classic BB King track You Upset Me Baby, Came Up The Hard Way by Eddie Clearwater which exudes suffering in every chord and plaintive word and Buddy Guy's superb First Time I Met The Blues.
What delighted me was that there were a whole load of tracks on here that I had never heard of by some - for me, at least - obscure names and that they were uniformly excellent. Consequently, I'm now investigating whole catalogues of work by these guys.
One thing that strikes you when listening to this collection is that the guitar playing is universally exemplary. We often think of men like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy or John Lee Hooker when considering great Blues guitar players. Fortunately, all three are in this selection, but so too are many others who give those giants a run for their hard-earned money. The one minus is that the two Kings (BB and Albert) aren't represented. This is a shame since any Blues compilation seems lacking without those two being present. Also, there's no Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson or any of the genre's originators. Again, this is a shame, but their loss is compensated for admirably by the inclusion of such quality tracks.
There is ample representation of the modern inheritors of the Blues style such as Gary Moore, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, John Mayall, Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac. The track selection used to illustrate their work is good, but not particularly original.
Overall, is a wonderful collection and, above all, incredibly good value for money. Don't let the inane, generic cover picture fool you; these CDs contain 48 classic tracks by most of the greatest Blues performers for less than £8. I'm usually dubious about bargain collections because they're often full of substandard material and are poorly presented but, believe me, this is an exception.
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The Blues Collection
The Blues Collection by Various Artists (Audio CD - 1996)
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