Various Artists

The Ultimate Blues Collection [Castle]

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At its release in 1990 this was an impressive introduction to modern blues through a number of the genre's bigger stars. Given it is only a double album, it also gave a good overview of various blues styles and periods. But looking back, time hasn't been too kind to some of the tracks that felt natural to include in 1990, like Gary Moore's "King of the Blues" and "Smoking Gun" by Robert Cray, who was incredibly hyped in the '80s. Neither does British blues deserve eight out of the 24 tracks, but since it is a British collection, that is forgivable. Because of the time elapsed, this album doesn't work any longer as an introduction to contemporary blues through old blues, or vice versa, but a few excellent tracks that may have eluded even some blues fans could still make it worth buying. The most outstanding of these is the live version of "I Got My Mojo Working" with only a manic bass and guitar as backing for Alexis Korner's vocals. Korner is otherwise mostly known as a promoter and producer of almost all British blues bands.

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