Various Artists

Crucial Texas Blues

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Opening with the ageless Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's "She Walks Right In" and continuing through the ferocious duel guitars of Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins on "Lion's Den," the Fats Domino-like stroll of Katie Webster and Lonnie Brooks on "Those Lonely, Lonely Nights," and the funky "Standing on Shaky Ground" by Delbert McClinton, this sampler of Texas players on the Alligator Records roster shows a surprising diversity of approaches to contemporary blues. An obvious highlight here is "Richest Man" by East Texan C.J. Chenier, a slow, simmering ballad that hints at zydeco with its well-placed horns and accordions, but ends up being pure blues when all is said and done. All in all, this is a decent sampler of Alligator's wares, with enough sameness to feel like the tracks belong together, and enough difference to keep things fresh.

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