Assembled from tapes recorded in New York City with producer Herb Abramson between 1965 and 1973, The Best of Louisiana Red is an ideal introduction to one of the blues' most unique and memorable characters. Never a musical innovator, Red's true gift was instead to absorb the lessons of contemporary greats like Muddy Waters and Elmore James, employing their lyrical and instrumental motifs as a means to forge his own evocative style; James' slide guitar, in particular, haunts cuts like "The Story of Louisiana Red," "Where Is My Friend" and "Freight Train to Ride." Red's lyrics, on the other hand, are startlingly original, his surreal narratives unprecedented in the blues canon; the amazing "Red's Dream" details a journey to the U.N. to outline a plan to solve the Cuban missile crisis, while its follow-up, "Red's New Dream," portrays its hero as the first blues singer in outer space.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny