Various Artists

Giants of Country Blues Guitar, Vol. 2

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Although the recording dates on Giants of Country Blues Guitar, Vol. 2 are quite modern, covering 1975-1991, the direct connections go back to the mid-century, Joe Willie Wilkins having played guitar for Sonny Boy Williamson II (i.e., Rice Miller) on his Trumpet sides. Actually, the players here, of whom the best known is R.L. Burnside, are practically a living museum of the rural blues styles on display. James "Son" Thomas' six songs represent the unvarnished authentic Delta blues style, while Cornelius Bright's track displays the "Bentonian" style embodied by Skip James. Burnside's performance of "Rollin' and Tumblin'," which would make Muddy Waters' Chess Records version seem almost slick, is worth the price of admission, but even he seems mannered and commercial next to some of what's here. Some of the rest -- especially Bright's and Jimmy Holmes' "Devil's Blues" -- sound like it came out of a time machine.

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