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Chicago: Blues Today [Box set]

Chicago , Blues , Today! Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Price: $20.38 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 24, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: August 24, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Vanguard Records
  • ASIN: B00000JKF2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,802 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Help Me (A Tribute To Sonny Boy Williamson) - The Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band
2. It Hurts Me Too (When Things Go Wrong) - The Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band
3. Messin' With The Kid - The Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band
4. Vietcong Blues - The Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band
5. All Night Long - The Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band
6. Going Ahead - J.B. Hutto And His Hawks
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Cotton Crop Blues - The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet
2. The Blues Keep Falling - The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet
3. Love Me Or Leave - The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet
4. Rocket 88 - The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet
5. West Helena Blues - The Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet
6. Everything's Going To Turn Out Alright - The Otis Rush Blues Band
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. One More Time - Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band
2. Kid Man Blues - Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band
3. My Black Mare - Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band
4. Stealin' Back - Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band
5. I Got Mine In Time - Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band
6. TIghten Up On It - Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band
See all 13 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

When blues historian Samuel Charters released his three-volume collection of Chicago blues in 1966, it had an impact on the rock and roll world similar to that of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music , exposing a new, predominantly white generation to the sounds of the urban blues Mecca. Each artist came in and recorded 4-6 songs specifically for the project; many of these tunes have become staples in blues and rock repertoires. Includes Messin' with the Kid Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band; I Can't Quit You Baby Otis Rush Blues Band; Dust My Broom Homesick James & the Dusters; Hey, Hey Johnny Shines Blues Band; The Blues Keep Falling Jimmy Cotton Blues Quartet; Sometimes I Wonder Otis Spann's South Side Piano, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Blues July 19, 2005
Format:Audio CD
In early 1966, blues history was made with the issuance of a three-volume set of new recordings produced by blues historian Samuel Charters. This series was known as Chicago/The Blues/Today! and the release sent shock waves through the world of rock and roll. Every artist on the three volumes had recorded before (some, like Otis Rush and Junior Wells, had actually seen small hits on the R&B charts), but these recordings were largely their introduction to a newer -- and predominately white -- album-oriented audience.The "today" part of the title was no bit of hyperbole, either. This series accurately portrayed a vast cross section of the Chicago blues scene as one could hear it on any given night in the mid '60s.

Rather than record full albums (which Charters had neither the budget nor legal resources to pull off), each artist simply came in for a union-approved session of four to six songs, with each volume featuring three different groupings. With these recordings, blues suddenly gained respectability as something much more vital and vibrant than just a poor cousin of jazz. A new market for this music began, one that exists today in full blossom.Their effect on musicians was enormous. It's fair to assume that most blues-influenced artists had all three volumes in their respective collections, and the songs on them ended up in the repertoires of everyone from Jimi Hendrix (Junior Wells' "Rock Me") to Led Zeppelin (a note-for-note copy of Otis

Rush's "I Can't Quit You Baby") to Steppenwolf (Junior Wells' "Messin' with the Kid") and beyond. These recordings have stayed in print and been reasonably good sellers over the 30 years since their original release, all coming out on compact disc in the mid 1980s.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL BLUES September 20, 1999
Format:Audio CD
If there is one post war chicago blues compilation box set that must be in every blues collection it is this one for sure. These recordings from 1965 are simply outstanding. J.B. Hutto, Junior Wells, Otis Spann, Otis Rush, Johnny Shines Blues Band, Johnny Young's South Side Blues Band, Homesick James, and Big Walter Horton's Blues Harp Band with Memphis Charlie Musselwhite are all peak perfomrances. This set is the 1999 re-release which, unfortunately, includes no new material from the original three disc series, so current owners of the entire series don't need it. However, if you don't own this set, then you are missing out on some of the greatest blues ever recorded. This is the blues!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mo better blues right here April 7, 2000
Format:Audio CD
What a collection! A few thousand bucks and some very quick sessions and ole Sam came up with some terrific stuff. The vocals in this collection are unbelievably strong, culminating in the overpowering Johnny Shines. There are some palpable ghosts lurking in the collection as well: Muddy Waters through his band led by James Cotton, Robert Johnson through former fellow traveler Shines, Elmore James through cousin Homesick James, and Sonny Boy Williamson II honored right after his passing by Junior Wells. Shines and Homesick are particularly eerie echoes of their inspirations. Otis Rush is brilliant as usual and J.B. Hutto was a revelation for me.
Rush is the only real modern in the bunch and even he is stronger drink than most modern blues. Junior Wells evinces a bit of a James Brown influence in this set.
This is not really for hi fi types, although the sound is very good. There was little time to record it so it's a warts and all job. But there's all kinds of excellent blues: barrelhouse from wizard Otis Spann, guitar from Rush and Buddy Guy, harp from Wells, Cotton, Walter Horton, and a very young Charlie Musselwhite. Just a wonderful set.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If not the Holy Grail, then close November 9, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As a serious blues musician, I am always on the lookout for those few seminal recordings which I might have heard about, but not owned. To go over to the jazz world for a moment, I would put Chicago the Blues Today

in the realm of A Love Supreme by Coltrane or Kind of Blue by Miles et al in terms of influence. And, as a harp player, the Junior Wells and James Cotton tracks are absolutely killer!!! I can't believe how good this is-one of the crown jewels.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three in one, or one in three December 16, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I bought all three of the albums in this set separately a few years ago, but you can get all three in a set for this ridiculously low price. It would still be a great deal to buy each of the three discs for whatever it was that I paid, probably [cheap], because this is an utterly superb collection of electric blues that you could never find anywhere else. For my money the Otis Rush contribution is the best thing he ever recorded, the Junior Wells version of Help Me is better than the Sonny Boy original, and every single track on all three albums is absolutely choice. One of the strengths of the set is that with three acts on each disc, there is no space whatsoever for inferior or filler material. If you want Chicago electric blues, this set should be your first purchase.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow!!! June 20, 2005
Format:Audio CD
In the sixties, the Chicago blues scene was so vibrant, alive, and brimming with great blues that an enterprising producer could (and did) literally pull some of the finest second-line bluesmen off the street, hustle them into a studio, and turn them loose. The resulting three-disc set represents some of the finest blues ever made, yet no one on this session is named Muddy, Wolf, Johnson, or Hooker! Of course, Junior Wells (with Buddy Guy in tow) is brilliant, especially with his moving "Tribute to Sunny Boy" (Williamson, of course!) and his fabulous "Messin' With The Kid" (later covered by the Blues Brothers, among others). JB Hutto is amazing, sounding as raw and unpolished as Robert Nighthawk, yet every bit as soulful. His mighty, slide-fueled renditions of "Going Ahead" and "Too Much Alcohol" will leave you begging for more! (More blues AND more alcohol, too!) Otis Spann, Muddy Waters long-time pianist, closes out Disc One with five mellow-yet-intense pieces, including an extra-wonderful "Spann's Stomp". Disc Two kicks off right-as-rain with another former Muddy colleague, harp extraordinaire whiz James Cotton. His frenzied cover of Ike Turners "Rocket 88" is the standout of his set. Otis Rush contributes a superb version of "I Can't Quit You Baby", later borrowed by Led Zeppelin, while former Elmore James cohort Homesick James weighs in with his first-rate "Set a Date." If there is a weak point of this set, it happens during the third disc, with Johnny Young and his rather annoying use of "blues mandolin"; however, his rendition of "One More Time" is very good indeed. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the sounds coming from this box set !
Something special about the time frame this box set comes from and the city of Chicago, The Blues exploded and was introduced to its widest audience ever, that was the beginnings... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Chris Cummings
5.0 out of 5 stars There is a reason everyone is rating this 5 stars!
I think this is the finest collection of urban blues you will find anywhere. I was a kid in high school when Chicago The Blues Today LP's first came out, and I owned all three... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Duffy Sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues To The Bone
Vanguard Records deserves kudos for this outstanding three CD Volume set.
The artists on these three CDs epitomize what Chicago blues sounded like in the hey days of the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Down Home Hip to the Jive
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely classic and essential blues collection
If there ever was a blues album that could be called a classic, this is it. These performances are the roots of urban blues, and are the music that people like Eric Clapton and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jon Corelis
5.0 out of 5 stars House Rockin Blues by the Modern Masters
It's all been said- This blues set came out as originally 3 separate and if you like the samples then that should be good enough for you this is a steal, great Rockin' Blues (a lot... Read more
Published on February 5, 2010 by Billy Boy
5.0 out of 5 stars Landmark
I bought the three separate Vanguard vinyl LP's years ago. Wore 'em out. They got me started on the harp and I have played ever since....or at least, tried to play. Read more
Published on July 22, 2008 by Mr. Mambo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Blues Compilation
Chicago: The Blues Today! contains great and classic performances. This three-CD set features two to three different artists on each CD, such greats as Otis Rush, Otis Spann, James... Read more
Published on May 26, 2006 by Terence Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues masterpiece
Every single one of the 42 tracks is a gem. All of the original liner notes and artwork are reproduced and augmented with additional notes for a total of 47 pages of blues history... Read more
Published on March 19, 2004 by Redgecko
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music, horrible packaging!
Wow, this is one of the crown jewels as far as the electric blues is concerned!
You can't go wrong with this although for those of you who think the electric blues started... Read more
Published on September 22, 2002
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