Various Artists

Earwig 20th Anniversary Collection

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Since its formation in the late '70s, Earwig has been one of the top blues labels even if it has generally been overshadowed by such giants as Alligator, Blind Pig and Delmark. A former employee of Bob Koester (the head of Delmark), Michael Robert Frank was inspired to start his own label. In the years since, he has recorded many top unsung blues artists, as can be heard on this superlative two-CD sampler, Earwig 20th Anniversary Collection. Rather than filling in the set with a lot of tracks that are actually R&B, soul, or blues ballads, the emphasis throughout this two-fer is on the blues itself. Occasional instrumentals, spirited vocals, rocking electric blues, some more intimate acoustic country blues, and even a lone track from 1942 (David Honeyboy Edwards' "The Army Blues") are all included on this well-conceived package. Virtually every selection is a high point, for the tracks were well-chosen, so pick up this sampler and enjoy a perusal through the riches of the Earwig catalog. There are many talented blues artists to discover.

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