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Mean Old World: The Blues from 1940 to 1994

Mean Old World: The Blues from 1940 to 1994

A four-CD, 80-song box set that, in line with similar Smithsonian productions, outlines the history of blues spanning over 50 years, with cuts by major performers who represent its stylistic evolution. The set is stuffed with classics by the likes of Muddy Waters, Louis Jordan,


A four-CD, 80-song box set that, in line with similar Smithsonian productions, outlines the history of blues spanning over 50 years, with cuts by major performers who represent its stylistic evolution. The set is stuffed with classics by the likes of Muddy Waters, Louis Jordan, T-Bone Walker, Little Walter, Big Mama Thornton, Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy, with plenty of slightly lesser-known artists like Lil' Son Jackson, Billy Branch, Big Maybelle, J.B. Lenoir, Doctor Clayton, and Junior Kimbrough. The selections are a tad conservative (if very good), and it's likely that serious blues fans will have a good share of the tracks in their collections already. The set also concentrates much more heavily on 1940-1970 material (which takes up about 75 percent of the contents) than blues from the 25 years from 1970 onward. If your interest falls somewhere between casual fan and dedicated collector, though, it's a good survey of major blues performers and genres, with an excellent historical overview and notes about each performer in the accompanying 92-page booklet.

Product Details

Release Date:
Smithsonian Collect.


Disc 1

  1. Ma Rainey
  2. I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town
  3. Mean Old Frisco
  4. Bourgeois Blues
  5. Mean Old World
  6. Evil Gal Blues
  7. I Wonder
  8. Blood on the Moon
  9. Chicago Breakdown
  10. Angels in Harlem
  11. Billie's Blues
  12. Hoodoo Hoodoo
  13. Good Rockin' Tonight
  14. Chicken Shack Boogie
  15. Trouble Blues
  16. Crawlin' King Snake
  17. When Things Go Wrong with You (It Hurts Me Too)
  18. Cairo Blues
  19. Black Angel Blues (Sweet Black Angel)
  20. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  21. Every Day I Have the Blues
  22. Double Crossing Blues

Disc 2

  1. Rollin' and Tumblin', Pt. 1
  2. Mother Earth
  3. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  4. Dust My Broom
  5. How Many More Years
  6. Black, Brown and White
  7. Rocket 88
  8. Juke
  9. Five Long Years
  10. Mean Old World
  11. I Smell a Rat
  12. Gabbin' Blues (Don't Run My Business)
  13. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
  14. The Things That I Used to Do
  15. Eisenhower Blues
  16. Okie Dokie Stomp
  17. Come Back Baby
  18. How Long, How Long Blues
  19. Cherry Red
  20. San Francisco Bay Blues
  21. I Can't Quit You Baby
  22. Three Hours Past Midnight

Disc 3

  1. Freight Train
  2. Junker Blues
  3. Sweet's Blues
  4. Livin' With the Blues
  5. Shake 'em on Down
  6. Spoonful
  7. Pardon Denied Again
  8. Freddie
  9. Hide Away
  10. Going Back to Florida
  11. Trust My Baby
  12. Driving Wheel
  13. Bright Lights, Big City
  14. Stormy Monday Blues
  15. Tongue Lashing
  16. Worry, Worry
  17. Baby Scratch My Back
  18. Think
  19. Wang Dang Doodle
  20. Early in the Morning
  21. Sweet Home Chicago

Disc 4

  1. Crosscut Saw
  2. Every Night and Every Day
  3. Why I Sing the Blues
  4. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing, Pt. 1
  5. Little Bluebird
  6. Your Turn to Cry
  7. Down Home Blues
  8. Your Husband Is Cheatin' on Us
  9. How Long This Must Go On
  10. Jr. Blues
  11. Big Legged Mamas Are Back in Style
  12. Stubborn Woman
  13. Cities Need Help
  14. You
  15. Between Midnight and Day

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Big Maybelle   Vocals,Track Performer
Bobby "Blue" Bland   Vocals,Track Performer
Eddie Boyd   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Billy Branch   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Big Bill Broonzy   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Charles Brown   Piano,Vocals
Roy Brown   Bass,Vocals,Track Performer
Peter J. Clayton   Vocals
Blind John Davis   Piano
Willie Dixon   Bass,Vocals
Champion Jack Dupree   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Jesse Fuller   Guitar,Kazoo,Vocals,Track Performer,Fotdella
Lowell Fulson   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Lloyd Glenn   Piano
Guitar Slim   Guitar,Vocals
Buddy Guy   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Slim Harpo   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Z.Z. Hill   Vocals,Track Performer
John Lee Hooker   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Big Walter Horton   Harmonica
Melvin "Lil' Son" Jackson   Guitar,Vocals
Freddie King   Guitar,Track Performer
Lead Belly   Vocals,12-string Guitar,Track Performer
J.B. Lenoir   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Mance Lipscomb   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Little Walter   Harmonica,Vocals
Percy Mayfield   Vocals,Track Performer
Jimmy McCracklin   Vocals,Track Performer
Memphis Minnie   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Memphis Slim   Piano,Vocals
Amos Milburn   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Louis Myers   Guitar
Robert Nighthawk   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Johnny Otis   Background Vocals,Vibes
Jimmy Reed   Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Sonny Rhodes   Lap Steel Guitar
Hubert Sumlin   Guitar
Taj Mahal   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Koko Taylor   Vocals,Track Performer
Little Johnny Taylor   Vocals,Track Performer
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee   Harmonica,Vocals
Big Mama Thornton   Bass,Vocals,Track Performer
Big Joe Turner   Vocals
Junior Wells   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Elizabeth Cotten   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Ray Charles   Piano,Vocals
Bobby Nunn   Vocals
Robert Parker   Alto Saxophone
Danny Barker   Guitar
Milt Buckner   Piano
Buck Clayton   Trumpet
Arnett Cobb   Synthesizer,Saxophone
Albert Collins   Guitar,Track Performer
Harry Edison   Trumpet
Freddie Green   Guitar
Red Holloway   Tenor Saxophone
Peter Johnson   Piano
Jo Jones   Drums
Louis Jordan   Alto Saxophone,Vocals
Joe Newman   Trumpet
Esther Phillips   Vocals
Jimmy Rushing   Vocals,Track Performer
Willie Smith   Alto Saxophone
Buddy Tate   Tenor Saxophone
David Torkanowsky   Piano
Dinah Washington   Vocals,Track Performer
Lester Young   Tenor Saxophone
Irving Ashby   Guitar
Lawrence Brown   Trombone
Pete Brown   Alto Saxophone
Oscar Moore   Drums
Freddie Slack   Piano
Jimmy Blythe   Piano
Tampa Red   Guitar,Kazoo,Vocals,Track Performer
Don Wilkerson   Tenor Saxophone
Johnnie Johnson   Piano
Robins   Vocals
Lorenzo Smith   Tenor Saxophone
Gene Barge   Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Bell   Bass
Lee Jackson   Bass
Johnny Jones   Piano
Denise LaSalle   Vocals,Track Performer
Memphis Horns   Horn
Cecil Gant   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Gene Phillips   Guitar
Mississippi Fred McDowell   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Coleman Hawkins   Tenor Saxophone
Sam "The Man" Taylor   Tenor Saxophone
Big Maceo Merriweather   Piano,Track Performer
T-Bone Walker   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Robert Lockwood   Guitar
Sammy Price   Piano
Myrick Guillory   Rubboard
Sonny Thompson   Piano
Walter Page   Bass
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones   Drums
Junior Kimbrough   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Dino Alvarez   Drums
Ike Anderson   Bass
Thomisene Anderson   Vocals
Joe Arnold   Saxophone
Theodore Arthur   Tenor Saxophone
Alex Atkins   Alto Saxophone
Geese August   Bass
Duke Barker   Drums
Dallas Bartley   Bass
Jewel Bass   Vocals
Lefty Bates   Guitar
Eddie Beal   Piano
Sidney Bechet   Soprano Saxophone
Leard Bell   Drums
Fred Below   Drums
Wayne Bennett   Guitar
Billie Holiday   Bass,Vocals,Track Performer
Johnny Board   Tenor Saxophone
John Boudreaux   Drums
Jackie Brenston   Tenor Saxophone,Vocals
Joe Bridgewater   Trumpet
Glenn Brooks   Drums
Skippy Brooks   Piano
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown   Guitar
Johnny Brown   Guitar
Kerry Brown   Drums
Sammy K. Brown   Drums
Brownie McGhee   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
John Browning   Trumpet
Howlin' Wolf   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Larry Burton   Guitar
Carl Caldwell   Bass
Harrison Calloway   Horn
Red Callender   Bass
Little Milton   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Big Sid Catlett   Drums
Ben Cauley   Horn
Henderson Chambers   Trombone
Alfred Cobbs   Trombone
David Coleman   Drums
Ernest Cotton   Tenor Saxophone
Ernest "Big" Crawford   Bass
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Maxwell Davis   Tenor Saxophone
Pluma Davis   Trombone
George M. "Jud" DeNaut   Bass
Mario Delagarde   Bass
Duncan   Drums
Donald "Duck" Dunn   Bass
Teddy Edwards   Tenor Saxophone
Alfred Elkins   Bass
Leroy Emanuel   Guitar
Little Esther   Vocals
Elgin Evans   Drums
Gus Fontenette   Alto Saxophone
Fred Ford   Baritone Saxophone
Bobby Forte   Tenor Saxophone
Pops Foster   Bass
Sonny Freeman   Drums
Gavin   Drums
Jewell L. Grant   Baritone Saxophone
Ray Griffin   Bass
Joe Guy   Trumpet
William K. "Billy" Hadnott   Bass
Jimmy Hamilton   Bass
Ralph Hamilton   Bass
Donald Hankins   Baritone Saxophone
Paul Harris   Guitar,Piano
Bill Harvey   Tenor Saxophone
Bob Harvey   Drums
Raymond Hill   Tenor Saxophone
Scott Holt   Guitar
Lightnin' Hopkins   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Jim Horn   Horn
Ike Turner   Piano
Wayne Jackson   Trumpet
Vasti Jackson   Guitar
Wesley Jackson   Guitar
Elmore James   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Gerald Jemmott   Bass,Guitar
Pat Jenkins   Trumpet
Duke Jethro   Piano
Little Son Joe   Guitar
James Johnson   Guitar
Jimmy Johnson   Guitar,Vocals
Jimmy Johnson   Guitar,Vocals
Odie Johnson   Bass
Ray Johnson   Bass
Willie Jones   Drums
Booker T. Jones   Piano
Tony Jones   Bass
B.B. King   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Albert King   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Ransom Knowling   Bass,Guitar
Willie James Lacey   Guitar
Lloyd Lambert   Bass
Ernest Lane   Piano
Leo Lauchie   Bass
Chris Layton   Drums
Lafayette Leake   Piano
Cliff Leeman   Drums
Pete "Guitar" Lewis   Guitar
Professor Longhair   Piano,Vocals,Human Whistle,Track Performer
Andrew Love   Saxophone
Herb Lovelle   Drums
Magic Sam   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Mama Reed   Vocals
Wendell Marshall   Bass
Walter Martin   Drums
Hugh McCracken   Guitar
Willard McDaniel   Piano
L.C. McKinley   Guitar
Dave McRae   Baritone Saxophone
Mezz Mezzrow   Clarinet
Frank Mitchell   Trumpet
Herman Burell Mitchell   Guitar
Paul Monday   Piano
Joe Montgomery   Piano
Johnny B. Moore   Guitar
Joe Morris   Trumpet
Muddy Waters   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Jack Myers   Bass
David "Fathead" Newman   Baritone Saxophone
Frock O'Dell   Drums
Odie Payne   Drums
Hot Lips Page   Trumpet,Vocals,Track Performer
Junior Parker   Vocals,Track Performer
Philip Paul   Drums
Earl Phillips   Drums
Milt Raskin   Piano
Rudolph Richard   Guitar
Ben Richardson   Alto Saxophone
Eddie Roane   Trumpet
James Robertson   Drums
Jimmy Rogers   Guitar
Charles Rose   Horn
Otis Rush   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Rudy Rutherford   Clarinet
Jesse Sailes   Drums
Ken Sands   Trumpet
Charles Saunders   Drums
Tommy Shannon   Bass
Johnny Shines   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Hamp Simmons   Bass
Willie Sims   Drums
Fletcher Smith   Piano
Charlie Smith   Drums
Carl Snyder   Piano
Sonny Terry   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Otis Spann   Piano
John Starks   Drums
Willie Steel   Drums
Terry Taylor   Drums
Ty Terrell   Vocals
Arnold Thomas   Piano
Harvey Thompson   Horn
Mack Thompson   Bass
Joe Tillman   Tenor Saxophone
Luther Tucker   Guitar
Percy Walker   Drums
Bill Warren   Drums
Johnny "Guitar" Watson   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Carl Weathersby   Guitar
Frank Wess   Tenor Saxophone
Richard Wells   Tenor Saxophone
Charles Whitley   Trumpet
Carson Whitsett   Organ,Piano
Devonia Williams   Piano
Robert Pete Williams   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Sonny Boy Williamson   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Sonny Boy Williamson [II]   Harmonica,Vocals,Track Performer
Bill Willis   Bass
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Bass
Albert Winston   Bass
Jimmy Witherspoon   Vocals,Track Performer
Reese Wynans   Organ,farfisa organ
Mighty Joe Young   Guitar
Dino Zimmerman   Guitar
Dave Coleman   Drums
Willie Kizart   Guitar
Larry Dale   Guitar
Leon Hooper   Drums
Al Jackson   Drums
Willie Johnson   Guitar
Corey Harris   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Doctor Clayton   Vocals,Track Performer
Lee Young   Drums
Elga Edmunds   Drums
Timothy Overton   Tenor Saxophone
Tommy Turk   Trombone
Vagabonds   Vocals
John Williams   Guitar
Johnny Williams   Guitar
Grachan Moncur   Bass
James Bell   Bass
Ernest Lawlars   Guitar
Monroe Vincent   Percussion
Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5   Track Performer
Tutu Jones   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Earl Brown   Alto Saxophone
Jimmy Allen   Tenor Saxophone
Charlotte Chenault   Vocals
James Camady   Guitar
Jud de Naut   Bass
Bill Kehoe   Percussion
Henry McDode   Piano
Tommy Nevue   Trumpet
Charles Burbank   Tenor Saxophone
Fred Radcliffe   Drums
Charles Waller   Baritone Saxophone
Malcolm Robinson   Horn
Cal Arnold   Bass
Vernon King   Bass
Linny Nance   Keyboards,Hammond Organ
Carl Arnold   Bass
Joe Ayers   Bass
Alfred Jenkins   Bass
Dave Myers   Guitar
Billy Richards   Vocals
Rose Marie McCoy   Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
Dave Lee   Piano
Big Joe Turner   Bass
Eddie Williams   Bass
Tony Moret   Trumpet
Robert Ogden   Drums
Jimmy Miller   Drums
David Lee   Piano
Roy Richards   Vocals

Technical Credits

Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes   Contributor
Slim Harpo   Composer
John Lee Hooker   Composer
Little Walter   Contributor
Memphis Slim   Contributor
Johnny Otis   Contributor
Jimmy Reed   Contributor
Jane Sapp   Contributor,Editorial Coordinator
Ray Charles   Contributor
Leonard Feather   Composer
Lionel Hampton   Composer,Director,Contributor
Louis Jordan   Contributor
Memphis Horns   Contributor
Bernard Besman   Composer
Jackie Brenston   Contributor
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown   Contributor
Maxwell Davis   Director
Pluma Davis   Composer
Larry Hoffman   Producer,Liner Notes
Elmore James   Composer
Robert Johnson   Composer
Riley King   Composer
Leroy Kirkland   Contributor
Mezz Mezzrow   Contributor
Frank Mitchell   Contributor
Eddie Roane   Contributor
Bruce Talbot   Producer
Amy Pickworth   Editorial Coordinator
Jules Taub   Composer
Dave Clark   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Mezzrow-Bechet Septet   Contributor
Ciminelli   Composer

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