Various Artists

King Biscuit Blues: The Helena Blues Legacy

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Compiled by the producers of the King Biscuit Blues Festival, King Biscuit Blues is a wonderful collection of both well-known and obscure tunes by bluesmen rooted in the Delta tradition -- including several alumni of the original King Biscuit Time radio show. Naturally, a couple Trumpet label recordings turn up here (Rice Miller's "Too Close Together" and Elmore James' ubiquitous "Dust My Broom"), but the rest of the album is drawn from a variety of contexts, from Robert Nighthawk's 1952 session with United to James Cotton live at Antone's in 1987. A lot of this material is blatant Chicago-style blues, but the point is that most of these guys can be traced back to Helena, AR, during some point in their careers. There's also the nice bonus of getting to hear previously unreleased tracks by both Honeyboy Edwards (a solo reading of "61 Highway") and an unlikely trio of Sunnyland Slim, Johnny Shines, and Big Joe Williams ("Evening Sun" and "Roll and Tumble Blues").

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