3 Skulls and the Truth

It was a great year for new releases by long-standing blues artists such as Robert Cray, whose Nothin But Love session was his first release in three years; Magic Slim & the Teardrops, who returned with Bad Boy; Chicago guitarist Lurrie Bell, who mixed gospel with blues on The Devil Ain't Got No Music; and the inimitable Dr. John, who released his first album on the Nonesuch label, Locked Down. Luther Dickinson, guitarist for the North Mississippi Allstars and the Black Crowes, had a busy 2012, making our year-end blues list with three separate entries. And important archival releases paid homage to the traditions of the genre, including The Ace Records Blues Story, JSP's four-disc set Juke Joints, and Bear Family's Plug It In! Turn It Up! Pt. 1 (although all four volumes from this series could easily have been on this list).

Lurrie Bell - Devil Ain't Got No Music
Rory Block - I Belong to the Band: A Tribute to Rev. Gary Davis
Gary Clark, Jr. - Blak and Blu
Shemekia Copeland - 33 1/3
Robert Cray Band - Nothin But Love
David Hidalgo/Mato Nanji/Luther Dickinson - 3 Skulls and the Truth
Luther Dickinson - Hambone's Meditations
Dr. John - Locked Down
Chuck Leavell - Back to the Woods: A Tribute to the Pioneers of Blues Piano
Magic Slim & the Teardrops - Bad Boy
South Memphis String Band - Old Times There...
Otis Taylor - Otis Taylor's Contraband
Various Artists - Ace Records Blues Story
Various Artists - Juke Joints
Various Artists - Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues - The Definitive Collection, Pt. 1:

Listen to the best tracks from our favorite Blues albums of 2012 in this playlist: