Various Artists

Best of Blues [Madacy Box Set]

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Unlike most of the Madacy collections on the market, the Best of Blues set consists of mostly high-quality blues recordings from some of the biggest names in the genre. Many different aspects of the blues are here, from the delicate piano ballads of Billie Holiday and Ray Charles to the rock/blues rave-ups of Rare Earth and John Mayall to the traditional guitar-based work of B.B. King and Buddy Guy. Some incredible songs are unearthed for this collection too, like Charles Brown's guitar workout "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand," Howlin' Wolf's incredible stop-and-start crawler "Ain't Superstitious," and Leadbelly's depressing race relations tale "The Bourgeois Blues." While many of these are songs that appear quite frequently on these types of collections, this particular set has a great track listing that complements the genre nicely. The sound quality is rough in spots, particularly on anything released before 1950, but the songs are still quite listenable despite the audible scratches and clicks. Fans of the genre may have most of these tracks, but to anyone looking to hear an inexpensive blues sampler that features some high-quality music, this is a great album to start with.

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