The Rough Guide to Delta Blues

Various Artists

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The Rough Guide to Delta Blues Review

by Chris Nickson

A fantastic compilation that really does span the length of Mississippi Delta blues, from the early days of the Mississippi Sheiks and Charley Patton (with the classic "High Water Everywhere Part One") through to the modern but equally rooted sounds of Asie Payton, R.L. Burnside, and the late Junior Kimbrough. And it's every bit as thorough in between, with all the big names (Robert Johnson [of course], Skip James, Son House, Muddy Waters, and many more) and some who are not so widely known, like Louise Johnson and Bo Carter. And it's not just the selection of artists that's astonishingly good and complete, but also the tracks picked, which have plenty of classics, as well as a real range of experience of the Delta blues. More than any other record that's attempted to convey the depth and breadth of the style, this succeeds in stunning fashion. It's the perfect primer to the roots of the blues as they stand, and while the tracks aren't arranged in any kind of chronological order, the feel that crosses time is consistent. This is absolute magic.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 R.L. Burnside 02:48 Amazon
2 Robert Johnson 02:52 Amazon
3 Mississippi Fred McDowell 03:26 Amazon
4 Charley Patton 03:03 Amazon
5 Son House 02:58 Amazon
6 Mississippi Sheiks 03:18 Amazon
7 Muddy Waters 03:26 Amazon
8 Asie Payton 03:06 Amazon
Elvie Thomas / Geeshie Wiley / Greechie Wiley 03:06 Amazon
10 Robert Petway 02:51 Amazon
11 Tommy Johnson 03:28 Amazon
12 Robert Belfour 04:48 Amazon
13 Blind Willie Reynolds 02:58 Amazon
14 Willie Brown 03:02 Amazon
15 Louise Johnson 03:04 Amazon
16 Mississippi John Hurt 02:57 Amazon
17 Alfred Lewis 03:24 Amazon
18 Bukka White 02:35 Amazon
19 Junior Kimbrough 03:11 Amazon
20 Robert Wilkins 02:53 Amazon
Big Bill Broonzy 02:34 Amazon
Bo Carter 02:58 Amazon
23 Big Joe Williams 02:43 Amazon
24 Skip James 02:51 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick