Various Artists

The Best of the Blues [Pair]

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This disc (subtitled "A Summit Meeting") isn't exactly the "best of the blues" by any means, but it is a fine -- though edited -- live concert, from Lincoln Center's Philharmonic (now Avery Fisher) Hall in June of 1973. Big Mama Thornton is in excellent form, doing "Little Red Rooster" and "Ball and Chain," Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson is represented by "Back Door Blues," "Hold It Right There," "Kidney Stew," and "They Call Me Mr. Cleanhead," and Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup sings "That's All Right." But the big treat is Muddy Waters, in one of his first appearances after the car crash that nearly took his life, doing "Long Distance Call," "Where's My Woman Been," "and "Got My Mojo Workin'." The sound is excellent, and the performances are all very strong. Serious fans, however, should be aware that a European double-CD set exists, which includes four more songs off the original double album. But as a mid-priced release that is easily available, this isn't bad.

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