Various: Blues Power – 27 Original All-Time Classics

Flawed but respectable blues introduction includes Muddy Waters, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, T-Bone Walker and Freddie King

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The 27 blues tracks in this collection were all recorded between 1947 and 1962, the period when acoustic guitar was making way for electric. The songs are delivered by 16 artists. The reason there’s an apparent disparity between tracks and musicians is because five of the artists feature twice and one artist (Howlin’ Wolf) three times.

Represented in the selection are Chicago blues patriarchs (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf), Delta talking-bluesmen such as John Lee Hooker, electric blues pioneers (B.B. King, T-Bone Walker), slide guitarists (Elmore James), harmonica players (Little Walter, Junior Wells), folk-blues artists (Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry) and 60s revival/electric blues innovators (Freddie King, Buddy Guy and Magic Sam). Despite the cover featuring a woman posing with a baseball bat, the sole female blues singer in the collection is Etta James.

The album is marketed as having some of the most celebrated blues songs performed by the most legendary musicians in the genre. For the majority of tracks this is undoubtedly true but to fully attain this accolade some might have been better substituted by others. For instance Elmore James’s Shake Your Moneymaker or Bo Diddley’s You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover have been overlooked. Other “first-call” classics that fit the bill such as B.B. King’s The Thrill Is Gone, Big Joe Williams’s Baby Please Don’t Go and Boom Boom Out Go The Lights by Little Walter are also missing.

Having said this, I appreciate you can’t expect to cover the whole gamut with just 27 songs. Overall the selection is a respectable introduction to the blues. It’s also useful for those who may want to fill gaps in their collection. All the tracks have been remastered and sound quality is very good. The album comes with an informative 16 page booklet.

I should say that the CD is reviewed here but I notice there’s a vinyl / LP version available with the same Blues Power title and sleeve cover. However, it only gives you the first 20 songs.

Discography
I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man; You Upset Me Baby; Boom Boom; Little Red Rooster; I Can’t Quit You, Baby; Call It Stormy Monday; My Babe; I’m A King Bee; Lonesome; The Sky Is Crying; I Just Want To Make Love To You; She’s A Sweet One; Hide Away; Baby What You Want Me To Do; Better Day; 3 O’Clock Blues; All Your Love; Smokestack Lightnin’; Boogie Chillen #2; Sit And Cry; Hoodoo Blues; I Got My Eyes On You; Spoonful; Mannish Boy; Reconsider Baby; Don’t Start Me To Talkin’; Don’t Throw Your Love On Me So Strong (76.41)
Muddy Waters; B.B. King; John Lee Hooker; Howlin’ Wolf; Otis Rush; T-Bone Walker; Little Walter; Slim Harpo; Memphis Slim with Matt ‘Guitar’ Murphy; Elmore James; Etta James; Junior Wells; Freddie King; Jimmy Reed; Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry; Magic Sam; Buddy Guy; Lightnin’ Slim; Lowell Fulson; Sonny Boy Williamson II; Albert King. USA, 1947-1962.
New Continent 648070