Various Artists

Before the Blues, Vol. 3: The Early American Black Music Scene

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This final volume in an indispensable series collects work by better-known artists like Memphis Minnie and Mississippi John Hurt as well as more obscure geniuses like Henry Thomas and Texas Alexander. What stands out is the amazingly consistent level of quality of the recordings. While some preservation efforts such as this might fill spaces with padding, all the music here is heartbreakingly beautiful.

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