The Anthology

The Anthology

by Big Bill Broonzy


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Big Bill Broonzy built a blues recording career that lasted from 1927, when he tracked his first side with Paramount Records, through his last U.K. tour in 1957, and he did it by subtly adapting his intelligent blues style to the times, starting out with some vital and rough sides of country-blues, then moving into an urban groove that helped build the classic electric Chicago blues sound, before gracefully embracing the acoustic folk-blues just as the folk revival was building in the U.S. in the late '50s, and he did all this without changing all that much, really, and it makes his recorded legacy a remarkably consistent one across the various blues styles: they all sound like Big Bill. This two-disc, 50-track set collects the essential tracks from all of Broonzy's different eras (including, of course, his signature "Key to the Highway," originally released in 1941 by OKeh Records), and it makes for a fine, in-depth survey and portrait of this influential blues player and composer.

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