Various Artists

Back to Black: 1900-1999

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Back to Black: 1900-1999 is an imposing achievement. A ten-disc box set that chronicles the history of black music in the 20th century, it spans 100 years in 220 tracks, beginning with Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag," and ending with DJ Luck's "A Little Bit of Luck." It touches on every conceivable style and artist between those two points. Moving from early blues, through jazz and big band/swing, the birth of R&B, the rock & roll years, early classic soul, deep soul, Nu Wave soul, disco, black pop, early and late hip-hop, to the edge of the current urban scene, this collection seems to simply have everything, from Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Robert Johnson, Count Basie, Muddy Waters, Ella Fitzgerald, Chuck Berry, Nina Simone, Miles Davis to Public Enemy, D'Angelo and Arrested Development. Also included are forays into black gospel, Jamaican ska and reggae, Motown, Stax, and Philly soul. One is struck by the seemingly endless ways that polyrhythmic patterns and melismatic vocals can be reshuffled, reinvented and reapplied, always breaking fresh musical ground. It is impossible to imagine Western pop music without this stuff, and one wonders how there would even be a Western pop music without these contributions.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:17
2 3:20
3 2:15
4 3:20
5 2:33
6 3:00
7 3:22
8 3:03
9 2:36
10 3:30
11 3:10
12 3:11
13 2:40
14 2:37
15 3:03
16 3:07
17 3:21
18 2:54
19 4:10
20 3:16
21 2:45
22 2:38
23 2:44
24 2:56
25 3:08
26 2:29

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 2:48
3 2:50
4 2:43
5 2:58
6 2:29
7 2:38
8 3:08
9 2:32
10 2:37
11 2:31
12 2:55
13 3:06
14 2:41
15 2:32
16 2:29
17 2:43
18 2:51
19 2:58
20 3:00
21 3:04
22 3:35
23 3:04
24 2:59
25 2:53

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:28
2 2:40
3 1:50
4 2:25
5 2:44
6 2:16
7 2:18
8 1:56
9 2:22
10 3:00
11 3:36
12 2:16
13 2:38
14 2:38
15 2:39
16 4:17
17 2:40
18 1:59
19 2:41
20 2:29
21 2:10
22 2:37
23 2:54
24 3:12
25 4:03

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:38
2 2:40
3 2:53
4 2:35
5 2:56
6 2:43
7 2:55
8 2:56
9 2:59
10 2:48
11 2:41
12 3:46
13 2:42
14 2:45
15 2:30
16 2:52
17 2:58
18 2:08
19 2:11
20 2:36
21 3:04
22 2:33
23 2:56
24 7:48

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:25
2 2:52
3 2:20
4 2:39
5 2:54
6 2:53
7 3:33
8 2:56
9 3:11
10 2:50
11 2:34
12 2:35
13 2:51
14 2:42
15 2:41
16 3:32
17 5:08
18 3:06
19 3:27
20 2:32
21 2:38
22 5:23
23 2:48

Track Listing - Disc 9

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:44
2 3:50
3 3:37
4 4:02
5 5:55
6 3:21
7 4:18
8 4:14
9
Guy
3:42
10 4:09
11 4:15
12 4:13
13 3:50
14 3:47
15 3:52
16 4:01
17 5:12
18
4:16
blue highlight denotes track pick