In the two-CD set Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection, C. J. Chenier opens a live version of “Jambalaya” by asking the audience, “Can an Alligator sing the blues?” Had he been talking about the Chicago-based independent label, the crowd would have responded with a resounding yes. The proof is in the 13 live cuts from label veterans that fill the second disc in the set. Two of the label’s most acclaimed and adored artists contribute versions of signature tunes: Albert Collins’s guitar on the gut-wrenching “Dyin’ Flu” gasps in spurts, then howls with the chill of death on the solo, while Luther Allison’s “Soul Fixin’ Man” is fired up like a down-home family reunion. Louisiana-Chicago transplant Lonnie Brooks shouts about a “Two Headed Man” with his tongue in his cheek; harp master James Cotton bemoans his bad luck with the up-tempo “When It Rains It Pours”; and vocalist Delbert McClinton goes deep into Texas country-soul with “Maybe Someday Baby.” As a special tribute to the artist who gave founder and president Bruce Iglauer a reason to start the label, there’s a wonderful CD-ROM video track -- supposedly the only clip in existence -- of Hound Dog Taylor performing “Taylor’s Rock” at the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues Festival. The second disc here illustrates how far the label has moved from basic blues over the past three decades. Taken from recordings already issued, there are tunes by bayou piano pounder Marcia Ball, West Coast guitarists Rusty Zinn and Coco Montoya, Australian guitarist Dave Hole, Texas guitarist Johnny Winter, and the Piedmont acoustic blues duo Cephas & Wiggins. From Shamekia Copeland’s wide-open belting on “Turn the Heat Up” to the social commentary of Corey Harris’s “Basehead” and Koko Taylor’s growly cover of Melissa Etheridge’s “Bring Me Some Water,” this set shows that Alligator Records has captured the breadth of contemporary blues like no other label.