Various Artists

Jewel Spotlights the Blues, Vol. 2

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The second volume in Jewel Records' blues retrospective features Buster Benton, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Lightnin' Hopkins, Willie Dixon, Magic Sam, John Lee Hooker, Lowell Fulson, Earl Hooker, Ike Turner, and Little Joe Blue. Dixon was also the producer on Benton's sessions and wrote "Spider in My Stew" for the latter. The best thing on here, worth the price of the disc, is Lightnin' Hopkins' "Mr. Charlie," with its extraordinary spoken-word introduction, and Ike Turner's "Matchbox" isn't far behind. Willie Dixon's "New Way of Lovin'" is a great showcase for the composer's vocal prowess, and an even better one for the guitar skills of then 16-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd, whose playing is dubbed onto the original recording, though one wishes that Dixon's voice were a little bit more upfront in the mix. Otherwise, the sound is state-of-the-art, and the only thing one could wish for that isn't here would be actual recording or release dates.

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