As one would expect from any collection of Little Walter's '50s releases, this long-out-of-print British import of some of the blues harpist's rare sides is top-notch. Thunderbird will hopefully surface again, because it offers initiates a less-exhaustive alternative to Chess' sprawling yet fine double-CD set of Walter rarities, Blues With a Feeling. Either way, these excellent sides not only show off Walter's incredible harmonica work ("Teenage Beat," "Shake Dancer"), but spotlight his supple vocals as well ("It's Too Late Brother," "I've Had My Fun"). There's also plenty of the electric performances Walter always inspired in his '50s bands (a star-studded list, including Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Robert Lockwood Jr.). While Thunderbird languishes in the vaults, check out one of Walter's many single-disc Chess retrospectives; if you get hooked, purchase the Blues With a Feeling set.
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