This 45-song, two-disc collection is subtitled "two decades of killer fretwork", and never was a set so aptly described. Chess Records was the home to seemingly every hot guitar player in the Chicago area, and many of them make their appearance here. Besides the usual label guitar hotshots (Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Lowell Fulson, Earl Hooker, Otis Rush, Robert Nighthawk, Little Milton), space is given to sideman work from legends like Hubert Sumlin and Robert Jr. Lockwood and great one-offs by lesser-known artists like Jody Williams, Danny Overbea, Eddie Burns, Joe Hill Louis, Morris Pejoe, Lafayette Thomas and others. It seems as if everyone recorded for Chess at one time or another, also explaining the inclusion of tracks by John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lonnie Brooks, Hound Dog Taylor and Elmore James. If electric blues guitar's your thing, then look no further than this fine two-disc compilation.
This 19-track compilation focuses on Elmore James' crucial sessions recorded for the Modern Records subsidiaries Meteor and Flair between 1952 and 1956. At the time of these recordings, the distorted amplified sound of James' slide guitar with his unmistakable electrified Robert Johnson lick was helping map out the postwar blues idiom with such classics as "I Believe," "Blues Before Sunrise," "Wild About You," "Mean & Evil," and the extraordinary reworking of Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" into "Dust My Blues." Even though roughly half of these tracks appear on the equally recommended 1986 Ace release Let's Cut It: The Very Best of Elmore James, this set is a great introduction to the dynamic slide guitarist's earliest recordings.
Tomato's Dust My Broom collects some of the last recordings of Elmore James' career, including "Baby Please Set a Date," "The Sky Is Crying," "Done Somebody Wrong," and "Shake Your Moneymaker." As is expected, James' incendiary slide guitar cuts through every track…
As the main songwriter for Chicago's Chess label, bassist/singer Willie Dixon was one of the most influential and prolific figures in blues. Although he often served as a session player for other well-known musicians, his soulful presence was always felt, as revealed on this excellent 25-track collection which features Dixon performing with Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Witherspoon, Buddy Guy, Little Walter, Elmore James, Otis Rush, and Etta James.
At first glance it would seem that Zakiya Hooker was born into the blues. After all, her father is Blues Legend John Lee Hooker. But rather than relying on her father, Zakiya has pursued life and her music on her own terms.
Earl Gaines was born in Alabama in 1935. He left home at age 16 and headed for Nashville, hoping for a career as a blues singer. He hooked up with the great saxophonist Louis Brooks whose group the High-Toppers were the first call R&B session musicians in Nashville at the time. Earl fronted the group as a vocalist and also played drums from time to time. In his career Gaines recorded with the cream of Nashville's R&B sidemen including Johnny Jones, Billy Cox, Larry Lee, Freeman Brown, Skippy Brookes, Arron Varnell, Harrison Calloway and The Commanders. This recording features many rarities and 1990's outtakes and showcases what an amazing artist Earl Gaines is and is a must for fans of Southern Soul and Blues. Crankshaft Blues features guest appearances by Roscoe Shelton, members of The Amazing Rhythm Aces and Roadrunners and is digitally remastered and packaged in digipak format with informative liner notation by Fred James.
This remastered two-fer combines guitarist Mel Brown's second Impulse release from 1968, The Wizard, with Blues for We released the following year. The Wizard is a straight-ahead soul-jazz date picking up where Chicken Fat left off with a few originals alongside funky renditions of “Ode to Billie Joe” and Pee Wee Crayton’s R&B hit of the late '40s “Blues After Hours.” Blues for We relies more on an interesting selection of cover versions ranging from “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Son of a Preacher Man” to the bubblegum staple by the 1910 Fruitgum Company “Indian Giver” and Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore,” which was the theme of a BBC television drama. Brown’s guitar work on both sessions is fluid and greasy, as are the funky drum licks, but occasionally, the arrangements drift into superior background music. New liner notes are absent, but the original packaging – front and back cover art and liner notes – remain intact.