While the first three volumes concentrated on the past, the final installment of Bear Family's four-part Acoustic Blues series essentially covers acoustic blues recorded during the '80s, '90s, and beyond. Although there were a few unrecorded bluesmen captured on record for the first time during this era, this was a time when newer acts, who often came of age during the great blues revival of the '60s or a little later, started to emerge. Consequently, the 40 cuts showcased on this double-disc set are very much concerned with preserving tradition, so there can sometimes be a studied reserve to the performances which, when combined with crisp, contemporary recording techniques, can make this music feel very different than the blues on the previous Acoustic Blues volumes. Listen past that surface and it becomes clear there are plenty of fine practitioners of traditional blues, musicians who kept the sound and spirit of the music alive long after it was supposedly gone.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2