Lonnie Johnson

Rambler's Blues

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One of the towering figures of the blues, Lonnie Johnson is rarely put in the category of the other blues greats -- men with household names such as Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker -- and it's hard to understand why. A mesmerizing guitarist, a gifted singer, and a great songwriter, Johnson is revered among blues enthusiasts despite his rather slim recording output. Rambler's Blues, a budget-line collection of Johnson's work, is a decent enough overview of the guitarist's output, containing the classic title track and 15 other top-drawer performances. But it's hard to see the purpose of the collection. As a scattershot 'best-of', it's fine, but it faces strong competition from both Document and Columbia, each of whom offer superlative collections of Johnson's work. And there seems little point in selecting this disc as a sampler of the artist.

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