Elmore James

Blues Masters: The Very Best of Elmore James

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A good 16-song compilation, but a puzzling one. It essentially duplicates The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James, but must be judged as slightly inferior, as that other compilation has 21 tracks. The puzzle is that The Sky Is Crying, like The Very Best Of, is also on Rhino, and was still in print when this compilation was released in 2000. True, this does have a couple of songs not on The Sky Is Crying ("Wild About You Baby" and "Coming Home"), and presents the tracks in chronological order, whereas The Sky Is Crying does not. Are these reasons to merit a second compilation in the same label's catalog? One would think not. However, if you could care less about such fine distinctions, this is as good a James anthology as any. And the expected classics are here, including "Shake Your Moneymaker," "The Sky Is Crying," "Dust My Broom," "Madison Blues," "It Hurts Me Too," and "The Sun Is Shining."

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