One of the greatest slide guitarists of the early blues era, and a man with an odd fascination with the kazoo, Tampa Red also fancied himself a piano player, and by the mid-'40s he was playing electric guitar and cutting tracks that were proto-templates for the electric Chicago blues sound, although a bit more reined-in and refined. Red recorded hundreds of sides during his 30-year career, leaving behind a remarkably varied legacy that ranged from straight jug band hokum to jazz-inflected jive pop. He was also a solid songwriter, penning blues classics like "It Hurts Me Too," "Crying Won't Help You," and with Georgia Tom Dorsey, the immortal "It's Tight Like That." This 25-track compilation covers the gamut, from Red's early acoustic National Steel slide work through his later electric efforts, and includes, of course, several kazoo breaks. Tampa Red ended up influencing just about every guitar player on the blues scene, from Muddy Waters and Elmore James to B.B. King, and this package makes a nice introduction to his prolific output, which balances neatly between the old country blues and the emerging modern and urban Chicago blues sound.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett