Various Artists

Deep Blues Story

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A three-disc French import collecting assorted blues tracks from the Aladdin, Capitol, and Imperial record labels, Deep Blues Story comes in a lavish box (with liner notes in French) that can't mask the rather haphazard selection of its contents. Not that there aren't wonderful performances here, and with artists as diverse as Muddy Waters, Son House, Snooks Eaglin, and Gatemouth Brown represented, it isn't that a wide range of blues styles aren't covered, in fact, that's almost the problem. The first two tracks on the first disc are indicative of the sequencing here, with the first cut featuring the gutbucket stomp of John Lee Hooker on "She Was in Chicago" followed by the much more refined jazz blues of Big Joe Turner's "Nobody in Mind," and the two songs feel like they come from different universes entirely. If the intent was to show the wide range of the genre listeners know as blues, then fine, but the end result simply feels tossed together, as Son House follows T-Bone Walker and Smokey Hogg follows Snooks Eaglin in a procession of blues extremes that seems perverse rather than informed. Admittedly, the story of the blues can be told in thousands of different ways, but not all at once, and that's the problem here.

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