Various Artists

Natural Blues [Wrasse]

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Natural Blues is an album built primarily around the blues sampled in Moby's Play album. Beyond those items that were directly sampled, various pieces from the first two "generations" of the blues are given as representatives of the major figures. The foundation of the album is a number of recordings from Alan Lomax's Southern odyssey years, with items from Bessie Jones, Vera Hall, and Boy Blue standing out as the main artists of this first generation, acoustic blues. The other component of the album is a good dosage of "second-generation" blues, essentially from Muddy Waters going electric through the beginning of the careers of B.B. King and John Lee Hooker, right up to the first signs of rock & roll with Bo Diddley's namesake song. The highlights of the earlier pieces would primarily be the items specifically sampled by Moby, to see the stripped-down essence of what would much later become techno hits. Of the later works, there are a multitude of highlights, as the signature pieces by any number of artists are presented. Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy," Howlin' Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning," Koko Taylor's "Wang Dang Doodle," and Bo Diddley's already mentioned self-titled number are all featured, along with slightly lesser-known pieces by artists of the same caliber. Of course, the ideal blues collection would feature a good deal of the Chess catalog as well as the full Lomax recordings. Given the enormity of this, though, an album like this which showcases a number of major items from both eras of the blues is a good fix. Pick it up for a nice overview of the relatively earlier eras of the blues.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 00:57
3 03:07
4 03:37
5 03:10
6 03:07
7 02:38
10 02:39
11 02:43
12 02:56
13 03:21
14 02:56
15 03:03
16 03:00
17 02:47
18 02:29
19 04:55
20 03:04
21 02:18
22 02:39
23 03:10
24 02:35
25 01:16
blue highlight denotes track pick