Various Artists

My Baby Left Me

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It's no secret that 99 percent of blues songs are about trouble raining down, and most of that trouble stems from a serious dose of heartache and perceived betrayal, a sense that the world is slamming doors in one's face. Why on Earth would anyone be surprised when a romance goes terribly wrong in the blues universe? This varied set offers 19 tracks of romantic woe and misery, and what keeps it from being just another blues set is the rarity of some of the selections. Included are Willie Egan's honest appraisal called "I Don't Know Where She Went," J.B. Lenoir's classic and early "Mama Talk to Your Daughter," yet another version of "Baby Please Don't Go" by Big Bill Broonzy (this one a tight and effective acoustic rendition), and Eddie King's poignant "Why Does a Man Have to Cry." Take broken hearts out of the blues equation and all that would be left are songs about selling one's soul to the Devil at the crossroads, and even at that, maybe it's still all the same story.

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