The second of two Ike & Tina Turner releases to compile tunes from their two Blue Thumb-licensed albums onto a single disc (the first was 1997's Bold Soul Sister) ups the track count from 16 to 18 and includes better historical liner notes. But with 20 minutes of CD time to spare, why not include all the tracks from both albums? Only two cuts each from 1971's The Hunter and 1969's Outta Season are missing, so there seems to be no good reason not to present both discs in their entirety. Regardless, this captures Ike & Tina at their stripped-down bluesy best, just before they hit crossover pay dirt with "Proud Mary" and transformed into the energetic funk-soul showstoppers they became. That style is hinted at on "Bold Soul Sister," a simmering shot of greasy fried funk that takes the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" down to the Deep South. It's one of the few originals on a set that doesn't so much interpret blues classics as play them straight and let Tina loose, bolstered by Ike's stinging, raw, Albert King-styled guitar solos. There doesn't seem to be a lot of thought put into these covers but it's clear that this music was in their blood. No horns or big glossy production -- just Ike & Tina tearing into chestnuts like Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby," Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom," Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years," and T-Bone Walker's "Mean Old World." Tina digs down to her gospel roots for a stunning "I Am a Motherless Child" with only a touch of vocal echo, skeletal piano, and Ike's softly strummed guitar as accompaniment. Some performances, such as Little Walter's "Crazy About You Baby," seem a little tentative, but Tina is in such strong, raspy voice that she sells everything she sings. The collection leads off with the comparatively tame studio version of Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You Too Long," best known for its sexually charged appearance in the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter documentary. But, as the title indicates, this is Ike & Tina playing and singing the blues with guts and soul, and even if this isn't the logical place to start your collection of the duo's music, it's one that most fans will enjoy.
AllMusic Review by Hal Horowitz