Various Artists

Big Blues Box, Vol. 2

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Fuel 2000's Big Blues Box, Vol. 2 simply combines three single blues compilations that the label previously released in 2003, The Blues Came from Mississippi, The Blues Came from Texas, and Blues Guitar Heroes, into one set. There is no additional annotation (actually, the single-disc versions had no annotation, either), and aside from skewing the collection to the Mississippi and Texas end of things, no real blues identity is presented here. There are some great tracks mixed in, many of them true classics, like Charley Patton's "Screamin' and Hollerin' Blues," Tommy Johnson's deceptively jaunty "Canned Heat Blues," and Blind Lemon Jefferson's ancient "Black Snake Moan," as well as more modern fare like T-Bone Walker's elegant version of "Baby Please Don't Go" and a wonderfully loose jump blues turn by Ike Turner on "Matchbox," but too often the tracks included are inferior versions of the artist's song, as is the case with Son House here, whose rediscovery version of his "Death Letter" is hardly his best. There are countless blues anthologies on the market, and this one doesn't particularly distinguish itself, giving off the aura of being haphazardly thrown together in the hopes that it will stick to the wall. There's fine music in this set, to be sure, but it comes with a pretty generic approach all wrapped up in a pretty generic package.

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