Album Info

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Blues, Piano Blues, Early R&B, Modern Electric Blues, Acoustic Blues, Classic Female Blues, West Coast Blues, Urban Blues, Soul-Blues, Texas Blues, Country Blues, Delta Blues, Blues Revival, Jump Blues, Juke Joint Blues, Electric Texas Blues, Chicago Blues, Electric Chicago Blues, Slide Guitar Blues, Harmonica Blues, Electric Blues, Folk-Blues, Regional Blues, Jazz Blues

Album Review

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.
Richie Unterberger, Rovi

Track Listing

  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
  23. Rollin' and Tumblin', Pt. 1
  24. Mother Earth
  25. Please Send Me Someone to Love
  26. Dust My Broom
  27. How Many More Years
  28. Black, Brown and White
  29. Rocket 88
  30. Juke
  31. Five Long Years
  32. Mean Old World
  33. I Smell a Rat
  34. Gabbin' Blues (Don't Run My Business)
  35. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
  36. The Things That I Used to Do
  37. Eisenhower Blues
  38. Okie Dokie Stomp
  39. Come Back Baby
  40. How Long, How Long Blues
  41. Cherry Red
  42. San Francisco Bay Blues
  43. I Can't Quit You Baby
  44. Three Hours Past Midnight
  45. Freight Train
  46. Junker Blues
  47. Sweet's Blues
  48. Livin' With the Blues
  49. Shake 'Em on Down
  50. Spoonful
  51. Pardon Denied Again
  52. Freddie
  53. Hide Away
  54. Going Back to Florida
  55. Trust My Baby
  56. Driving Wheel
  57. Bright Lights, Big City
  58. Stormy Monday Blues
  59. Tongue Lashing
  60. Worry, Worry [Live]
  61. Baby Scratch My Back
  62. Think
  63. Wang Dang Doodle
  64. Early in the Morning
  65. Sweet Home Chicago
  66. Crosscut Saw
  67. Every Night and Every Day
  68. Why I Sing the Blues
  69. Everybody Knows About My Good Thing, Pt. 1
  70. Little Bluebird
  71. Your Turn to Cry
  72. Down Home Blues
  73. Your Husband Is Cheatin' on Us
  74. How Long This Must Go On
  75. Jr. Blues
  76. Big Legged Mamas Are Back in Style
  77. Stubborn Woman
  78. Cities Need Help
  79. You
  80. Between Midnight and Day