This three CD collection brings together some of the most famous Blues artists performing 42 of the greatest Blues songs ever. Includes performances from John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Elmore James, T-Bone Walker, Howlin Wolf, Lighting Slim, B.B. King, Little Walter, Junior Wells, Canned Heat, Buddy Guy, Slim Harpo, Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Memphis Slim, Big Joe Williams, and Big Bill Broonzy.
Countless compilations over the years have claimed to be BEST OF blues sets. This new three-CD set from United Audio Entertainment comes pretty close to actually fitting that tag. With a list price of $9.98, it s certainly got the bang for the buck, packing a total of 42 certified blues classics into over two hours of music.
Any blues compilation worth its salt has got to have Robert Johnson check. Six Johnson cuts turn up, including a few that don't normally make the final list for many comps, like Stop Breakin Down. The most hallowed of blues singles are here, like Muddy Waters Hoochie Coochie Man and John Lee Hooker s Boom Boom. Conversely, there are some relatively obscure tracks by compilation inclusion standards, but no less important to blues history, like Memphis Slim's Messin Around and Bessie Smith's Nobody Knows When You're Down and Out.
Packaging is at a minimum, with no liner notes to speak of, but all songs are clearly listed in sequence on the back cover of the jewel case. Tracking is done fairly well, with the artists who have multiple cuts spaced throughout all three discs like putting your CD player on shuffle and settling down for a good listen.
An essential education for blues novices for sure, but completists may also want to pick this one up for the sake of having so much great stuff on hand in one collection. A desert island pick for the serious blues lover, this package hits all the right notes.
Mark Uricheck --Living Blues Magazine #222 December/January 2012