Various Artists

Definitive Blues Anthology

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This budget three-disc, 75-track box does a great job of surveying the 1950s golden age of modern blues in all of its incarnations, from vintage Chicago blues to urbane, uptown jump blues to material like Dale Hawkins' "Susie Q" and Bobby Charles' "See You Later Alligator" that drifts close to early rock & roll. Side after side is a genre classic, including Elmore James' "Dust My Broom" (featuring his signature roaring slide guitar), Jimmy Reed's laconic "Ain't That Loving You Baby," Slim Harpo's funky and swampy "I'm a King Bee," Bo Diddley's semi-obscure "Pretty Thing," and Willie Mabon's uptown take on "Poison Ivy," but everything collected here is essential to a modern blues library in one way or another, making this set a very efficient and economical purchase.

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