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|Original Delta Blues
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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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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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Muddy returned to his acoustic roots on this 1964 LP, expanded with five bonus tracks from Muddy's next two Chess sessions!
Muddy Waters started out playing acoustic blues in the Delta, and it shows on this return to his roots, designed to appeal to the mid-1960s surge of interest in folk music. The back of the CD includes a photo of Waters with bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon, as well as a very young Buddy Guy, gathered around a single microphone. This particular CD reissue includes five bonus tracks, among which are "The Same Thing" and "Short Dress Woman," which take advantage of the longer CD running time. All of the other reasons to hear this one remain--Waters's strong, confident voice, the relaxed smoothness of the material, and the surprisingly clean recording, made even cleaner by the digital remastering. --Genevieve Williams
|Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith)
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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
- Record Label: Smithsonian Folkways
- Catalog#: SFCD 40090
- Country Of Release: NLD
- Year Of Release: 2004
- Notes: ..Folk Music, History Of Folk, Blues, Cajun, Gospel
|The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt
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Vanguard captured the beauty and soul of this Delta bluesman to great effect on The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt, Today! and his last studio recording, Last Sessions . Those three LPs are all here, featuring Moaning the Blues; Poor Boy, Long Ways from Home; I'm Satisfied; Keep On Knocking; All Night Long , and more, with detailed notes.
Gentle, graceful, subtle, sweet--these aren't descriptions generally applied to the blues, but they offer a sense of Mississippi John Hurt's uniqueness and enduring legacy. Rediscovered during the 1960s folk boom after last recording in the late 1920s, Hurt cut the three albums compiled here when he was in his early 70s. His conversational phrasing sounds as natural as breathing, while his ragtime-tinged fingerpicking on acoustic guitar reveals more complexity the closer you listen. Beyond blues classics like "Candy Man" (the sly sensualist wasn't referring to lollipops), Hurt's range encompasses everything from folkish narratives ("Talking Casey," "Spike Driver Blues") to Southern spirituals ("Nearer My God to Thee," "Farther Along"). Though Hurt died in 1966, shortly after the last of these sessions, the music still sounds so fresh, you can almost hear the twinkle in his eye. --Don McLeese
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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.
- Record Label: Universal
- Catalog#: 06024 9852012
- Country Of Release: NLD
- Year Of Release: 2006
|Hooker 'N Heat
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Brand: HOOKER,J/CANNED HEA
A milestone in the careers of all involved. For the Hook, this was the venerable bluesman's first time on the pop-album charts. For Canned Heat, it was, sadly, the last recording with Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, who'd be dead of a drug overdose just months later. This 1971 double LP is here on 2 CDs, and it's a blues-boogie masterpiece.
This 1971 collaboration between primal one-part-Delta/one-part-Detroit singer-guitarist John Lee Hooker and Southern California blues revivalists Canned Heat works in large part because all parties involved are a little off. Hooker, the most unsystematic of the major bluesmen of his generation, isn't a good fit for disciplined players; rather, he requires sidemen who play by feel. In harp player-guitarist Alan Wilson, the Crawling King Snake found a particularly sympathetic foil; sadly, Wilson died shortly after these sessions were completed. Roughly divided into spare, gritty Delta exercises and full-on boogie stomps featuring the full band, Hooker 'n' Heat is surely one of Canned Heat's crowning moments, which isn't saying that much. But that it stands as a milestone in Hooker's oeuvre is quite a statement indeed! --Steven Stolder
- Record Label: Emi
- Catalog#: 7978962
- Country Of Release: NLD
- Year Of Release: 1991
- Notes: W/Canned Heat
|Muddy Waters: The Anthology, 1947-1972
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Muddy Waters should need no introduction. Not only did he provide a name for the world's greatest rock & roll band, but he also created the Chicago electric blues sound that's dominated the genre since he first hit the windy city in the late 1940s. His bands also featured what would become a who's who of electric blues: Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and the list goes on. The Anthology covers Waters's most important period: his first years at Chess through the late 1960s. All his best-known songs are featured in their definitive versions, providing the perfect introduction to a blues master who doesn't need one. --Mike Johnson
|King of Delta Blues Singers
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Blues lovers everywhere knew the legend of Robert Johnson, but only one complete Robert Johnson song was commercially available until this 1961 album came out. The most anticipated blues album of all time also became the most influential as future rock stars devoured it. Along with Crossroads Blues; Rambling on My Mind , and all the other classics, this reissue contains a newly discovered, previously unissued alternate version of Traveling Riverside Blues ! 17 tracks.
If there is a recording that is required listening for every blues fan, it's this one. Robert Johnson wasn't just King of the Delta blues; he was one of its founding fathers, and these re-mastered tunes are as timeless and important today as they were all those years ago. The songs that passed into the blues canon, to be covered by countless guitarists over the years, are here: "Crossroad Blues," "Preaching Blues," "Come On In My Kitchen," "Walking Blues," and more. And on this particular version of this often-reissued recording, there's an additional treat: a previously unreleased version of "Traveling Riverside Blues." Absolutely essential. --Genevieve Williams
|Father Of The Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions
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With this seminal figure's early work either out-of-print or only available overseas, these 1965 sessions take on an almost mystical importance. House had quit music for years when he was rediscovered in the early '60s and, as you will hear, time had not harmed his voice or his slide technique. These 21 tracks-12 unreleased-include his great Preachin' Blues essential stuff.
According to legend, it was Son House's blistering bottleneck guitar that prompted Robert Johnson to pick up a six string. House's potent early recordings from 1930 and 1941 to 1942 showcased his raw, emotionally powerful style, but never received the acclaim of Johnson's. When he was rediscovered during the '60s blues revivalist movement, House's voice still possessed wall-shaking intensity and his idiosyncratic slide guitar still had bite. These 21 recordings (including five alternate takes) offer superior fidelity and significant room for House to stretch out. The first disc features his classic "Preachin' Blues," a stirring a capella "Grinning in Your Face," and a nine-minute "Levee Camp Moan," with Canned Heat's Al Wilson on harp. Disc two (outtakes and alternates) includes an odd homage to President Kennedy and a riveting version of the spiritual "Motherless Children." --Marc Greilsamer
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