Ten volumes into their seemingly never-ending, always-excellent By the Bayou series, Ace returns to R&B for Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies & Pretty Babies. Like nearly all of its predecessors, this is primarily archival – i.e., there aren't a lot of familiar names, but there are acts that have popped up on previous Bayou installments because, at this point, it's been proven that the well is deep but not fathomless. Newly discovered cuts by unknowns can hardly be called "recycling," and this, like its cousins, is pretty close to straight-up aural dynamite.
This is a specially priced, two-CDs-for-the-price-of-one photo-cube set, loaded with great stuff from Charlie Musselwhite, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Johnny Winter, Billy Boy Arnold, Lonnie Mack, and a host of others who have trotted their wares on the label over the years. Besides giving the novice one great introduction to the label (as the music runs from traditional to modern), the big bonus here is a treasure trove of previously unissued tracks from Roy Buchanan (a chaotic version of Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper"); Floyd Dixon (a recut of his Blues Brothers-approved hit "Hey Bartender"); Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland in a marvelous outtake from the Showdown! album ("Something to Remember You By"); and the band that started it all, Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers, with a crazed version of Elmore James' "Look on Yonder's Wall," as sloppy as it is cool. Very good stuff.