Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, intense blues, 13 Dec. 2002
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This review is from: The Classic Early Recordings: 1951-1956 (Audio CD)
This 3-disc set, with its numerous alternate takes and various somewhat obscure selections, is for the serious Elmore James-fan.
A more casual blues fan would probably be better off with a good single-disc collection or two, but if you are indeed a serious fan, you really, really need this very well produced box set, complete with extensive liner notes, biographical information and rare colour pictures.
Elmore James only recorded for about eight years, from 1951-1956 for the Bihari Brothers, and again from 1960-1963 for Bobby Robinson, but his legacy features such indispensable blues classics as "Dust My Broom", "The Sky Is Crying", "Standing At The Crossroads", "Sho' Nuff I Do", "Blues Before Sunrise", "and "It Hurts Me Too".
Not all of them are featured on this collection, which sticks strictly to the 1951-1956 recordings. But with these three CDs on your shelf, and Collectables' "The Complete Fire & Enjoy Recordings" (also available on Amazon.co.uk - at least that's where I got them!), you'll truly have everything of importance.
These three CDs - contained in a handsome box - start off with Elmore's lone 1951 recording, a reading of Robert Johnson's "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom", with Sonny Boy Williamson II playing harp. Other highlights include lesser-known tracks such as "No Love In My Heart", "Hawaiian Boogie" and "Strange Kinda Feeling" (which is featured in an exhausting six takes!).
The many alternate takes and rarities may be a bit overwhelming, but it can be quite interesting to note the differences in lyrics and approach from take to take, and this box is meant to be a complete overview of Elmore James' recording career in the fifties, not just a greatest hits-compilation.
It succeeds very well, and is certainly highly recommendable to anyone who likes their blues intense, guitar-driven, and spiced up with a sax or two and perhaps Ike Turner on the piano!
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