steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Various Artists

"The Blues Foundation presents Blues Greats" CD

Birdman Records

Genres: blues

BRG Records
PO Box 208
Burbank CA

Nov 3 - 9 2003

Blues Greats is a compilation of tracks culled from the repertoire of the nominees for the 2003 WC Handy Awards.  Compiled by eclectic imprint Birdman Records, this is, in short, a solid collection of songs from some really respected (and rightfully so) names.

The compilation starts off on a good note with Otha Turner's terrific "My Babe" and keeps up the quality right through to the very end.  There are, of course, a diverse selection of blues styles on this disc, and that's all part of the fun.  While some musicians stick to the basics - like the legendary R.L. Burnside and Perry Tillis - others mix in rock (Alvin Youngblood Hart, Kenny Brown) and country (Precious Bryant) styles.  Other, even more daring numbers are also present -, Otis Taylor's left-of-centre blues/scat/avant-garde piece, "Harry, Turn the Music Up," for example, is an intriguing exploration into experimental blues.

Overall, Blues Greats is a very good compilation for blues fans, as well as those just looking to get more acquainted with the genre in its contemporary form.  This is a very enjoyable glance at a diverse and interesting genre.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2002]