Various Artists

Blues Essentials [EMI Gold]

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A 22-track collection of mostly uptown and urban late-night blues ballads, this set has a consistent tone and feel, and features wonderful performances like "Baby Please Don't Go" (with fabulous slide guitar) by Mississippi Fred McDowell, T-Bone Walker's classic "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)," Amos Milburn's stark, emotionally haunting version of "Trouble in Mind," and Nina Simone's it-ain't-over-til-the-bottle's-gone take on "Gin House Blues," among others. The end result is a perfect blues playlist for rainy nights and broken hearts.

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