As part of the Heritage of the Blues series on Hightone Records, Skull & Crossbones Blues provides a well-rounded retrospective of blues guitarist and onetime Robert Johnson cohort Johnny Shines. These 12 tracks capture Shines in a number of different settings, including both acoustic and electric, solo, and fronting a legendary Chicago band with Big Walter Horton, Otis Spann, and Fred Below. Shines' Robert Johnson influence is investigated on versions of "Standing at the Crossroads" and "Rollin' & Tumblin'," while material recorded in Los Angeles in the 1970s includes a snippet of guitarist Luther Allison at the beginning of his career. The tracks have been digitally remastered and lovingly compiled by fan and Hightone artist Dave Alvin.
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AllMusic Review by Al Campbell