Various Artists

Blues Guitar Women

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These two discs reflect, in their way, the incredibly rich, varied lineage of women in the blues. And of course, given the title, we're not talking about singers -- though many of these women do sing. With liner notes by Sue Foley, who compiled the set, this collection reaches backward and forward to mirror back to the culture the wild, wooly underside of the blues via its female six-string slingers. There are relative newcomers like Laura Chavez (who plays with Lara Price), Finland's Erja Lyytinen, and Austin's Eve Monses; seasoned veterans like Alice Stuart, Foley, Debbie Davies, Jesse Mae Hemphill, Joann Kelly, Rory Block, Bonnie Raitt with Maria Muldaur, Ellen McIlwaine, the scorching Joanna Connor, Barbara Lynn; and the legendary Memphis Minnie, Etta Baker, Algia Mae Hinton, and Precious Bryant, just to name a few. From originals to blues standards, there's something for everyone here. What's most surprising is how little known so many of these fine performers are, and the way the heritage gets passed down, guitar to guitar for over 70 years. This is one for the shelf, folks.

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