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Blues Guitar Greats Anthology
Delmark DE 697 (1996)
with Magic Sam, Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, and more…
Chicago figures prominently in the development of blues guitar. It is here that the guitar came into its own as a lead instrument, stepping up from behind the piano to the front of the stage during the evolving urban ensemble blues of the 1950s, while the trend toward long, emotionally charged guitar solos–best epitomized by Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Luther Allison and others–began on the West Side of Chicago.
It’s remarkable that Delmark’s recordings of blues guitarists have documented the evolving art form as it has changed from the solo acoustic expression of itinerant country artists like Big Joe Williams and Sleepy John Estes, to the blistering raw emotionalism of the West Side turks, to the latter-day urban intensity of Johnny B. Moore and Lurrie Bell — capturing arguably the best talent of this period of Chicago blues while creating some of those artists’ most memorable recordings.
— Justin O’Brien
1 Big Joe Williams– Down In The Bottoms 2:30
2 Sleepy John Estes– Government Money 2:25
3 Magic Sam– I Don't Want No Woman 3:02
4 Luther Allison– Five Long Years 4:14
5 J.B. Hutto– If You Change Your Mind 3:12
6 Jimmy Dawkins– Chitlins Con Carne 4:47
7 Mighty Joe Young– I Walked All Night 3:07
8 Robert Lockwood Jr.– Lockwood's Boogie 3:03
9 Junior Wells, Buddy Guy– Trouble Don't Last Always 7:31
10 Otis Rush– So Many Roads 5:29
11 Lonnie Brooks– Crash Head On Into Love 5:07
12 Jimmy Johnson (8)– Strange How I Miss You 4:23
13 Floyd McDaniel & The Blues Swingers– Why's Life Got To Be This Way 2:25
14 Barkin' Bill Smith With Steve Freund– Someday After Awhile 6:34
15 Dave Specter And The Bluebirds– West Side Stroll 4:27
16 Lurrie Bell– West Side Woman 3:07
17 Johnny B. Moore– Mean Mistreater 4:57
AllMusic Review by Cub Koda
This 17-track collection runs from 1961 to 1995, a good 30-plus years of the label's existence. As such, it covers just about every strain of blues guitar that has ever appeared on Delmark. With standout tracks from Big Joe Williams, Magic Sam (an unreleased live track from 1968), Luther Allison, J.B. Hutto, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Junior Wells with Buddy Guy, Lonnie Brooks, and Lurrie Bell, this is a really nice overview of Chicago blues guitar-oriented recordings covering a good three decades of important music. Highly recommended.