Various Artists

Hillbilly Blues

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First off, if it's from ASV/Living Era, you know it's a winner and that's almost enough said. This single-disc, twenty-five cut collection has nothing short of amazing material in truly cleaned up sound from the very beginning of the country music boom: "Hello Stranger" by the Carter Family should be proof enough. But the real treasure in this set is in the stranger and rarer things on it such as Tom Darby's "Sweet Sarah Blues," or the Nations Brothers' "Bankhead Blues." Add to this Smokey Wood's "Woodchips Blues" or Hartman's Heartbreakers' dirty blues "Give It to Me Daddy," whether vocal or instrumental. One of the true oddities included is the treasure "Fan It," by the Swift Jewel Cowboys who walked the line -- before Bob Wills -- of blues, jazz and country music complete with a killer trumpet solo. This is a truly historic volume with great liner notes and a handsome presentation that should be included in any serious country music fan's -- or blues fan's for that matter -- collection. Highly recommended.

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