As the debut act on the fledgling Alligator label, Hound Dog Taylor obviously holds a hallowed place in owner Bruce Iglauer's heart. That has resulted in more posthumous albums (three) from the raw boogie-blues man than "official" ones (two) released in his lifetime. And that's not including the Alligator tribute disc. Iglauer has returned to raid what must be some pretty threadbare vaults by now, to cobble together this 70-minute collection of live tracks, outtakes, and general leftovers. Fortunately, this barrel-scraping has turned up some real gems, although they are far rougher than what is already in Taylor's gritty, gutbucket rocking catalog.
A Record Store Day release. It's 78 rpm!
Alligator has a justifiable reputation as one of the premier blues labels, and it draws on its recorded resources for this compilation. There's certainly no doubting the quality of the players and the music here, from Johnny Winter to the late Hound Dog Taylor, whose raw style sears the ears on Elmore James' "The Sun Is Shining." An older Corey Harris track reminds people that he's a remarkable acoustic slide player, and Sonny Landreth's "Taylor's Rock," from a Hound Dog Taylor tribute, features him playing no less than four parts, and still injecting …
Those of you that have followed the Mule's history know that our connection with the state of Georgia is a deep one. Our first rehearsals were at the one-time living quarters of the Allman Brothers Band known as The Big House (now the ABB museum) in Macon, GA. Some later rehearsals took place at what used to be the legendary Capricorn Recording Studio in Macon while recording the song GONNA SEND YOU BACK TO GEORGIA for the HOUND DOG TAYLOR Tribute CD. A lot of our earliest shows were in Georgia as well so a lot of our growth as a band took place in front of Georgia audiences.
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.
The grotesque cover illustration is an abomination, but the contents are right in the growling grizzly bear style that we've come to expect. Only four Seals-penned originals, but the R&B-laced "Life Is Hard" and "I'm Gonna Take It All Back" are quality efforts. So is his heartfelt tribute to Hound Dog Taylor, "Sadie".