Tuesday, May 13, 2008

CD Review: Pure Blues

1) Mean Old World
2) Good Morning Little School Girl
3) Shame, Shame, Shame
4) Flood Down in Texas
5) Smoking Gun
6) Just Won't Burn
7) Little Red Rooster
8) Let Me Love You Baby
9) Statesboro Blues
10) Spoonful
11) Hoochie Coochie Man
12) Have You Ever Loved a Woman
13) Hound Dog
14) Big Boss Man
15) One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
16) Wang Dang Doodle
17) Born Under a Bad Sign
18) Tell Mama
19) Turn On Your Love Light
20) The Thrill is Gone
Pure Blues is a best-of album, but not for an artist, for an entire genre. Compiling such a thing may seem a daunting task, but U.T.V. Records did a decent job. This collection gives you a sample of all the best artists throughout the genre's history.
You get the big three: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and John Lee Hooker. You get other late greats like Duane Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Freddy King. You get the fine artists keeping the music alive: Clapton, Robert Cray, B.B. King.
Unfortunately, a one song per artist policy keeps some true blues essentials off the disc. Where's "Got My Mojo Workin'"? But I'm nitpicking, and the album does a fine job telling the story of the world's greatest music.
The track order is in the vein of a set list, kicking off with Allman and Clapton's acoustic duet "Mean Old World". Then a great blues man in a teenager's body, Jonny Lang, swings with "Good Morning Little School Girl". We get all sorts of stuff: the gravelly shuffle of Howlin Wolf's "Spoonful", the powerful Muddy Waters with "Hoochie Coochie Man", John Lee Hooker's soulful "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer", and finally, B.B. King's smoky assertion that "The Thrill is Gone".
This collection is sure to please both hardcore and casual fans of this genre. It's a label-made mix tape with all the greats. Where else could you get Big Mama Thornton and Susan Tedeschi in the same place?
****3/4 out of five

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