The 23 Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown tracks (and, save one co-written tune, they are all originals) on the Rock My Blues Away compilation offer proof positive of the Texas guitarist's command of roots music. Though steeped in the blues idiom, Brown folds country, bluegrass, Cajun, rock, and even jazz into his unique brand of music, and as a six-string slinger the man is legendary. This generous set provides no shortage of evidence to these claims, packing in feel-good boogie and down-home blues amid an eclectic stylistic mix that will appeal to blues aficionados and adventurous music fans alike.
A classic recording by one of Chicago blues' finest living legends, Left My Blues in San Francisco consists of 11 smoking tracks, featuring Buddy Guy's matchless guitar work and equally distinctive vocals. This recording is for people who like their blues straight up; like whiskey, it burns all the way through. Included are some of Guy's classic original songs, such as "She Suits Me to a Tee" and "I Suffer with the Blues," as well as excellent performances of "Buddy's Groove," "Keep It to Yourself," and "Goin' Home." All of this material can also be found on the Complete Chess Studio Recordings collection, but if you're new to Buddy Guy, Left My Blues in San Francisco is an excellent place to start.
Guy's last Chess album finds him shifting gears to keep up with the scene. His turns on "Keep It to Yourself," "Crazy Love," "When My Left Eye Jumps," "Leave My Girl Alone," and "I Suffer With the Blues" are some examples of this mercurial guitarist at his explosive best. The rest of the album is filled with groovy, soul-styled workouts; some of them succeed and some sound a bit dated, but overall this is one of Buddy's stronger efforts.
Doug MacLeod displays several sides of his artistry on this AudioQuest CD. His music ranges from solo folk numbers in the idiom of Leadbelly (but covering different subjects) to country blues with a trio, a few romps with the wailing harmonica of Carey Bell and two collaborations with the country fiddle of Heather Hardy. MacLeod's appealing voice is easy to understand, his lyrics are thoughtful and fresh (even when covering universal subjects) and his melodic guitar playing is versatile. MacLeod's well-conceived set should appeal to collectors of acoustic blues and folk music.–by Scott Yanow