Various Artists

From Mississippi to Chicago

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Recipe for a great anthology of Mississippi Delta blues: Find five of the music's best living exponents, put them in a studio and turn on the tape. Forget about overdubs, session musicians and fancy flourishes. Just let these guys sing and play the blues. That's what producer Matthew Block did with an 85-year-old Pinetop Perkins and a bunch of his slightly younger cohorts -- R.L. Burnside, Robert Curtis Smith, Eddie Cusic and Abie Boogaloo Ames. The resulting 15 tracks add up to a fascinating and highly listenable romp through a variety of blues styles -- everything from back-country strumming and storytelling to urban boogie-woogie piano. Highlights include Perkins' take on two evergreens -- "Kansas City" and "Everyday I Have the Blues" -- but the other artists here certainly hold their own.

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