Various Artists

Atlantic Blues: Chicago

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Chess is arguably the first label for blues, but behemoth Atlantic has enough of the stuff -- albeit a bit past its prime -- to still warrant a multi-disc box. This separately sold part of that package takes in some of the giants from the Illinois epicenter of urban blues. Two of the best, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, as well as latter-day Windy City queen Koko Taylor, are featured on cuts taped live at the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues Festival. Back in the studio, the mighty tandem of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells mixes it up with Dr. John and Eric Clapton, while Southern blues scion Duane Allman contributes fine slide work to a couple of top-notch Otis Rush performances. Freddie King's three numbers, featuring honking sax star King Curtis and the arrangements of soul great Donny Hathaway, take the prize, though. Not a good primer, maybe, but a solid blues roundup all the same.

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