Various Artists

Blues From the Fields into the Town, Vol. 2

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The idea of this compilation seems to be to show how blues changed when it became urban, as can be read in the title and seen briefly in the selection of songs. Leadbelly's "Noted Rider" starts the album and the highly electrified and most definitely urban "Mud in Your Ear" by Muddy Waters ends it. Meaningful themes are as welcome as rare on compilations, but while it brings variation to this album, the few songs included do not do much toward deepening the understanding of the development of blues or anything like that. The first side is more acoustic and the second more electrified, but neither geographic nor chronological information is given in the sleeve notes. Well, maybe that is too much to ask from an album that actually is, or was, quite cheap. Those who are big blues fans are likely to already have many of these songs or prefer to buy the original records they are found on, since most are not very rare. But for those who are not, a number of strong tracks by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee as well as Blind John Davies' piano version of "C.C. Rider" and especially Muddy Waters' blasting, fiery "Mud in Your Ear," an instrumental reworking of "I Got My Mojo Working," make the album pleasant listening.

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