Otis Spann

The Best of the Vanguard Years

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Most of the 18 songs on this fine, if slightly lackluster, compilation come near the end of Spann's 15-year run with Muddy Waters, placing them in the mid- to late '60s. There's plenty of talent here and some of the songs are among the best of Spann's solo efforts, but too much of it seems overly polished compared with the raw, stellar session piano work he did with Waters a decade earlier. Still, a decent assessment of the blues great's final years.

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