Blues: The Essential Album

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The title of this two-CD compilation rather wildly overstates its importance, as does the subtitle "the most important artists, the classic performances, the key songs." Few would consider, for example, Little Esther's "Lost in a Dream" or Big Joe Turner's "S.K. Blues" among the greatest blues cuts of all time, and as significant as Helen Humes and Willie Love may be, few would consider them among the most important blues artists. Putting the over-hype to the side, this is a decent and wide-ranging, though unfocused, collection of 32 blues songs spanning the 1930s to the 1990s. Everything here is worthwhile, and a few of the cuts are indeed certified classics: Big ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The title of this two-CD compilation rather wildly overstates its importance, as does the subtitle "the most important artists, the classic performances, the key songs." Few would consider, for example, Little Esther's "Lost in a Dream" or Big Joe Turner's "S.K. Blues" among the greatest blues cuts of all time, and as significant as Helen Humes and Willie Love may be, few would consider them among the most important blues artists. Putting the over-hype to the side, this is a decent and wide-ranging, though unfocused, collection of 32 blues songs spanning the 1930s to the 1990s. Everything here is worthwhile, and a few of the cuts are indeed certified classics: Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog," Muddy Waters' "Still a Fool," B.B. King's "Sweet Sixteen, Pts. 1-2," Junior Wells' "Hoodoo Man Blues," and Canned Heat's "Goin' Up the Country." Plenty of other major blues performers are represented, too, including Robert Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Elmore James, Lightnin' Hopkins, Son House, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, and Albert Collins. The track selection, however, seems on the arbitrary side, favoring lesser-known performances that aren't necessarily as good as the artists' more celebrated sides, and sometimes not nearly as good: no one would put "Lazy Poker Blues" among the Peter Green version of Fleetwood Mac's top moments, for instance. There are also some cuts that are not so much blues as blues-influenced Tom Waits' "Get Behind the Mule," Doc & Merle Watson's "Mississippi Heavy Water Blues". The irreverent flexibility of the apparent criteria for inclusion, however, does leave room for some enjoyable, seldom-anthologized items that make for welcome surprises, like Leadbelly's version of "Rock Island Line," Big Maybelle's lush and earthy ballad "Candy," Big Joe Williams' propulsive early-'50s track "She Left Me a Mule," and R.L. Burnside's 1967 recording "See My Jumper Hangin' Out on the Line." It's more a sampler for the casual yet adventurous blues admirer than the dedicated blues collector, and as such, wouldn't make a bad gift for someone who likes the blues but isn't particularly motivated to buy blues records.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/7/2004
  • Label: ESSENTIALS
  • UPC: 698458223029
  • Catalog Number: 230

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Nothing in Ramblin' (2:46)
  2. 2 Travelling Riverside Blues - Robert Johnson (2:46)
  3. 3 She Left Me a Mule (2:32)
  4. 4 Standing at the Crossroads - Elmore James (3:01)
  5. 5 Still a Fool (3:18)
  6. 6 61 Highway (5:21)
  7. 7 V-8 Ford (2:51)
  8. 8 Hound Dog (2:50)
  9. 9 Love Like a Hydrant (3:55)
  10. 10 This War Will Last for Years (2:57)
  11. 11 Cheating and Lying Blues (4:58)
  12. 12 Keep It to Yourself - Sonny Boy Williamson [II] (2:35)
  13. 13 High Fever Blues (3:13)
  14. 14 Worried Life Blues (2:55)
  15. 15 Come Here Baby - Robert Pete Williams (2:01)
  16. 16 See My Jumper Hangin' Out on the Line (2:36)
  17. 17 Rock Island Line (2:32)
  18. 18 Sittin' Here Thinkin' - John Lee Hooker (3:19)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Lost in a Dream - Little Esther (3:16)
  2. 2 S.K. Blues, Pt. 1 - Big Joe Turner (3:02)
  3. 3 S.K. Blues, Pt. 2 - Big Joe Turner (2:58)
  4. 4 Airplane Blues (2:32)
  5. 5 Boogie Guitar (2:36)
  6. 6 Candy (2:41)
  7. 7 Double Crossing Blues (2:49)
  8. 8 Sweet Sixteen, Pts. 1-2 - B.B. King (6:16)
  9. 9 Hoodoo Man Blues - Junior Wells (3:07)
  10. 10 Ice Pick (3:08)
  11. 11 Lazy Poker Blues (3:25)
  12. 12 Get Behind the Mule (6:52)
  13. 13 Goin' Up the Country (2:52)
  14. 14 Mississippi Heavy Water Blues - Merle Watson (2:54)
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Album Credits

Technical Credits
Sleepy John Estes Composer
John Lee Hooker Composer
Willie Love Composer
Hammie Nixon Composer
Johnny Otis Composer
Big Joe Williams Composer
Tom Waits Composer
Albert Collins Composer
Jerry Leiber Composer
Alan Lomax Composer
Kathleen Brennan Composer
Joe Clayton Composer
Peter Green Composer
Lightnin' Hopkins Composer
Saunders King Composer
Huddie Ledbetter Composer
Muddy Waters Composer
Mike Stoller Composer
Sonny Boy Williamson [II] Composer
Clifford Adams Composer
Jack Kelson Jr. Composer
Corey Harris Composer
Jessie Mae Robinson Composer
Joan Whitney Composer
Mack David Composer
John Crosby Liner Notes
Alex Kramer Composer
Nikos Veliotis Composer
R. Arthur Johnson Composer
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