Various Artists

Muddy Waters: The Headhunters

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The U.K.'s Proper imprint usually gets it right when it comes to reissues. That said, the trio of Chicago blues collections they released in 2009 -- the other two being Rollin' Stone and a Muddy Waters comp entitled I'm Ready (not to be confused with the Blue Sky title of the same name) -- are all stellar. This set collects 20 tracks by the cream of the Chicago crop (some first generation, some second): Little Walter Walter Horton, Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, and Robert Jr. Lockwood. All but Lockwood have more than one track on the set, making for a unified, stomping ride through the heyday of Chicago blues. The price on these Proper titles is certainly right, and even if the liners are a little sketchy, the music on this sampler can't be beat.

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