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Acoustic Blues


Keb Mo

Keb Mo Lowest new price: $3.97
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Every few years, an acoustic guitar player decides he wants to be the next Robert Johnson and endears himself to the blues world--Rory Block, John Hammond Jr., and Taj Mahal have crossed this road in the past. Veteran backup guitarist Kevin "Keb' Mo'" Moore has the freshest approach to pulling it off, turning Johnson's devil-obsessed classics "Come on in My Kitchen" and "Kindhearted Woman Blues" into friendly folk music on this 1994 debut. Unlike many of the great bluesmen, the personable Moore doesn't aspire to be evil or even rebellious; he writes terrific songs (most notably the opening "Every Morning" and "Dirty Low Down and Bad") and performs them with talent and charisma. --Steve Knopper

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Come Away with Me [Vinyl]

Come Away with Me [Vinyl] Lowest new price: $19.35
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Vinyl LP pressing. 2002 debut album from the Grammy-winning singer/songwriter. The album's critical and commercial success was a breakthrough for Jones in 2002, as it reached the top of the Billboard 200 chart and several jazz charts. The album also topped many critics' "albums of the year" lists and gathered major music awards in the process, including eight Grammy Awards. Following initial sales, Come Away with Me was certified diamond by the RIAA on February 15, 2005 having shipped over 10 million copies in its first three years of release.

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Definitive Collection

Definitive Collection Lowest new price: $6.26
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He was beloved worldwide as the king of the endless boogie, a genuine blues superstar whose droning, hypnotic one-chord grooves were at once both ultra primitive and timeless. But John Lee Hooker recorded in a great many more styles than that over a career that stretched across more than half a century. Those who'd learned from John Lee Hooker and appreciated his music's basic truths joined him with love and sensitivity on his last, best-selling records. The career that had begun at Detroit house rent parties ended fifty years later with platinum records and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Unlike so many bluesmen of old, John Lee Hooker died with wealth and acclaim in equal measure. It's something I can't figure out, he said in Europe in 1964, but I'm just trying toreach out to all kinds of publics. No one ever did a better job of making subtle changes to their basic mix to reach generation after generation, and the beauty of this collection is that we see those changes unfurling before us.

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Astral Weeks [Vinyl]

Astral Weeks [Vinyl] Lowest new price: $20.09
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180 gram vinyl, original packaging.

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Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal Lowest new price: $9.95
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Taj Mahal's been chasing the blues around the world for years, but rarely with the passion, energy, and clarity he brought to his first three albums. Taj Mahal, The Natch'l Blues and The Real Thing are the sound of the artist, who was born in 1942, defining himself and his music. On his self-titled 1967 debut, he not only honors the sound of the Delta masters with his driving National steel guitar and hard vocal shout, but ladles in elements of rock and country with the help of guitarists Ry Cooder and the late Jessie Ed Davis. This approach is reinforced and broadened by The Natch'l Blues. What's most striking is Mahal's way of making even the oldest themes sound as if they're part of a new era. Not just through the vigor of his playing--relentlessly propulsive, yet stripped down compared with the six-string ornamentations of the original masters of country blues--but through his singing, which possesses a knowing insouciance distinct to post-Woodstock counterculture hipsters. It's the voice of an informed young man who knows he's offering something deep to an equally hip and receptive audience.

Soon, Mahal turned his multicultural vision of the blues even further outward. The live 1971 set, The Real Thing, finds him still carrying the Mississippi torch, while adding overt elements of jazz and Afro-Caribbean music to its flame. But it's overreaching. His band sounds under-rehearsed, and the arrangements seem more like rough outlines. Nonetheless, these albums set the stage for Mahal's career. (For a condensed version, try the fine The Best of Taj Mahal.) Today, he continues to make fine fusion albums, like 1999's Kulanjan, with Malian kora master Toumani Diabate, and less exciting but still eclectic recordings with his Phantom Blues Band. --Ted Drozdowski

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Original Delta Blues

Original Delta Blues Lowest new price: $3.13
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This album-a 1998 Rolling Stone Top 25 all-time blues title-features the guitar and vocal style that helped define Delta blues, generations before it moved north to Chicago. Includes Death Letter; Preachin' Blues; Levee Camp Moan; Downhearted Blues , and more of the most influential blues recordings ever made.

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Definitive Collection

Definitive Collection Lowest new price: $6.26
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One of the greatest blues musicians of all time, Muddy Waters is still pulling new fans into the blues today, more than two decades after his death. His visibility seems to increase, rather than fade, with the passing years, and though the Viagra commercial that used I'm Ready as its backing track made some blues purists wince, it nevertheless made its point. In 2002 author Robert Gordon published his definitive full-length biography of Muddy, called I Can't Be Satisfied (Little, Brown); the following year Gordon produced a documentary with the same title which aired on public television. Muddy's songs continue to be covered, not only by today's up and coming young blues bands, but by rock and pop artists as well, keeping his name and music before successive generations of fans.

Features:

  • Record Label: Universal
  • Catalog#: 06024 9852012
  • Country Of Release: NLD
  • Year Of Release: 2006

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Martin Scorsese Presents: The Best Of The Blues

Martin Scorsese Presents: The Best Of The Blues Lowest new price: $8.71
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Brand: PBS

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Favorite Hymns

Favorite Hymns Lowest new price: $8.49
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Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith)

Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith) Lowest new price: $72.23
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Over 50 years after its original 1952 vinyl release, this is still the best American roots music collection around! Musicologist Harry Smith assembled the anthology from 78 rpm discs issued between 1927 and 1935. This 6-CD reissue was painstakingly researched, annotated and packaged to perfection. With 84 rare tracks, this one is a library all by itself! Includes Drunkard's Special Coley Jones; Peg and Awl Carolina Tar Heels; Frankie Mississippi John Hurt; Engine 143 Carter Family; Indian War Whoop Hoyt Ming & His Pep-Steppers; Newport Blues Cincinnati Jug Band; John the Revelator Blind Willie Johnson; Fifty Miles of Elbow Room Rev. F.W. McGee; Sugar Baby Dock Boggs; See That My Grave Is Kept Clean Blind Lemon Jefferson; The Lone Star Trail Ken Maynard, and many more!

This impressive--and frankly, fun--musical document is still sending out shock waves almost 50 years after its original 1952 vinyl release. The Smithsonian's six-CD reissue is painstakingly researched, annotated, and packaged (even boasting an enhanced disc for the techno-capable). Unlike field recorders, eccentric filmmaker/collector/musicologist Harry Smith assembled the Anthology from commercially released (though obscure) 78 rpm discs issued between 1927 and 1935. Its broad scope--from country blues to Cajun social music to Appalachian murder ballads--was monumentally influential, setting musicians like Bob Dylan down the path to folk fandom. The White House started its own national music library with the Anthology; anyone with more than a passing interest in American roots music should do the same. --Michael Ruby

More from Smithsonian Folkways

The Harry Smith Connection: A Live Tribute To The Anthology Of American Folk Music

Classic Maritime Music from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Smithsonian Folkways American Roots Collection

Classic Mountain Songs from Smithsonian Folkways

Classic Blues From Smithsonian Folkways

Folkways: The Original Vision

Features:

  • Record Label: Smithsonian Folkways
  • Catalog#: SFCD 40090
  • Country Of Release: NLD
  • Year Of Release: 2004
  • Notes: ..Folk Music, History Of Folk, Blues, Cajun, Gospel

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