Jimmy Reed

Solid Gold, Vol. 1

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Jimmy Reed only had a small handful of tricks in his arsenal, but seldom has an artist played to his strengths better than Reed, whose lazy, laconic vocals add a swampy substance to his mid-tempo shuffles, almost all of which have become enduring blues classics. Reed is testament to the notion that simple and direct may really be the best path to the river, and songs like "Baby What You Want Me to Do," "Bright Lights, Big City," and "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby" are so perfectly realized that it is impossible to imagine the world without them. All three of these tracks are here, along with seven other Reed gems, but with dozens of Reed compilations on the market, this one seems a bit brief by comparison. Everything Reed recorded is cut from the same cloth, though, so casual listeners may find this anthology to be the perfect length, while serious listeners will undoubtedly want a set that goes into more depth.

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