Various Artists

House of Blues: Essential Chicago Blues

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"Essential' is a subjective word, but this two disc set certainly contains some pretty great blues performances sandwiched in between the just passable ones. On the plus side, there are classics aboard from Bo Diddley, Otis Rush, Little Walter, Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy Waters (the rarer alternate take of "Hoochie Coochie Man"), J.B. Lenoir, Buddy Guy, Willie Mabon, Sonny Boy Williamson, Junior Wells, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, J.B. Hutto, Eddie Taylor, Earl Hooker, and Big John Wrencher. On the debit side, there are re-cuts by Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Billy Boy Arnold, Hubert Sumlin, and so-so tracks from Son Seals, Carey Bell, Pinetop Perkins, Eddy Clearwater, Eddie C. Campbell, Jimmy Dawkins, John Primer, James Cotton, and Koko Taylor. This is a pretty good little collection if you can overlook about half of it.

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