Various Artists

Oakland Blues

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

As Lee Hildebrand states in his liner notes, Oakland blues -- unlike the slicker L.A. blues -- was a sophisticated yet rootsy version of the Southern and Chicago styles. Most of the players came from Louisiana and Texas to work in the shipyards of the Bay Area, which had no blues tradition of its own prior to World War II. This Arhoolie compilation of 1948-1957 material spotlights some of those top Oakland bluesmen, many of whom show the influence of the city's most famous blues resident, Oklahoma-native Lowell Fulson. From K.C. Douglas' countrified "Mercury Boogie" (later cut by David Lindley as "Mercury Blues") to Jim Wilson's slow-burning "Blues at Sundown," the mix offers a consistently fine selection of electric and acoustic delights. And whether you are excited about such billboard names as Jimmy McCracklin and Weldon "Juke Boy" Bonner or the obscure likes of pianist Mercy Dee or guitarist Johnny Fuller, this album makes for a very enjoyable primer on one of the blues' most overlooked hotbeds.

blue highlight denotes track pick