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which Blues CD

12 Jul 00 - 05:31 AM (#256258)
Subject: which Blues CD
From: GUEST,bored at work

I am going to buy some Blues music but do not know which artist to try first> Any suggestions much appreciated

12 Jul 00 - 08:31 AM (#256287)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

Too many favourites! However Bessie Smith, Leadbelly and Robert Johnson would be a good start. There are many good compilations around in cheapish box sets which would give a broad spread of artists which you could use as a way in & then to pick the ones you like. There was a Paul Oliver compilation ?"Story of the Blues" on four LPs which has probably made it to CD and there are collections called things like "The Great Women Blues singers" , "Chicago Blues" etc. around, some of them very cheap. I have a particular weakness for Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Mississippi Fred McDowell, but Big Bill Broonzy,Rev Gary Davis,Elmore James and Blind Blake are also essentials and favourites with many other 'Catters, that's before we get started on the newer guys....
Come on, Max, Stewie et al., before I list my entire collection!
Rts (White boy [boy?] lost in the blues).

12 Jul 00 - 08:39 AM (#256289)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Sean Belt

You just can't go wrong with anything by Mississppi John Hurt, Son House, or most any of Muddy Waters' catalogue.

- Sean

12 Jul 00 - 10:17 AM (#256330)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: dwditty

Missippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, Scrapper Blackwell, Big Bill Broonzy, Lightnin' Hopkins, of course - Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell, Mance Lipscomb, Blind Blake, Robert Wilkins, Son House, Pink Anderson, Tampa Red, Lonnie Johnson, Muddy Waters, Besse Smith, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Kokomo Arnold, Leadbelly, any of the Willie Browns, ......

Columbia put out several CDs with lots of this stuff on it.


12 Jul 00 - 11:24 AM (#256377)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Wesley S

Anything by Mississippi John Hurt is worthwhile.

12 Jul 00 - 02:06 PM (#256513)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Doctor John

Mississipi John Hurt and Lead Belly are songsters rather than pure bluesmen but I'm sure you'll find their music wonderful. For the raw stuff try Blind Lemon Jefferson. I'd certainly go along with Blind Blake and Blind Willie McTell. Try Furry Lewis too. McGhee and Terry and Broonzy are excellent but I heard a lot of them in my younger days. Lonnie Johnson is a very smooth performer who crossed many boundaries. I really like the exciting work of Blind Boy Fuller especially that with Sonny Terry. A good CD was "Bluesville" (ACE CDCH247) but may not be available now. Dr John

12 Jul 00 - 02:28 PM (#256528)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Steve Latimer

There are some excellent suggestions here, but I the term Blues encompasses a lot of various styles defined mostly by era. If you are a newcomer to blues you might want to start with the Chicago Blues of the 50's and 60's. This tends to be electric, (Muddy Waters invented electricity) with a full band. I would recommend any of the Chess 50th Anniversary Cd's, probably starting with both Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson.

A better idea might be to tune into CIUT on Monday's at 6:00 and listen to Let the Good Times Roll, a very good blues show that plays all styles of Blues. It is available online (can someone blueclickything it?)and is followed by Rick Fielding's Acoustic Workshop where it's not unusual to hear a lot of the acoustic Blues greats listed by other posters. (Rick introduced me to Rev. Gary Davis's music) This way you can write down names of some of the artists that you like and can start your blues collection.


12 Jul 00 - 02:34 PM (#256531)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD

You might want to try a blues CD sampler click here for some examples. That way you can narrow your choices down according to style, e.g., country blues vs. urban blues, etc...and then you'll get a representative cross-section of artists within that style.


12 Jul 00 - 04:06 PM (#256611)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Mooh

Good ideas above. Try the Alligator Records compilations too. Mooh.

12 Jul 00 - 04:50 PM (#256643)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Peter T.

The Columbia series (Roots and Blues) is still the best I think -- there is now a four volume box set. The first in the series (Vol. 1, that ends with Son House' Death Letter Blues, redone in the 1960's) is my favourite. If you want real old delta blues, Yazoo's Friends of Charley Patton is pretty good (and then there is Robert Johnson all on his lonesome).

yours, Peter T.

12 Jul 00 - 08:09 PM (#256820)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Stewie

For the early stuff, Proper Records has a 4CD box set overview with a 40 page booklet: Various Artists 'Broke, Black & Blue: An Anthology of Blues Classics and Rarities' Properbox 7. As the blurb says: 'From barrel house to boogie, from vaudeville to the delta, the enclosed 100 tracks depict the first 20 years of recorded blues history. From cast iron classics to the rarest of the rare tracks, here are some blues you need'. It is not as good as their excellent western swing box set ('Doughboys, Playboys and Cowboys'), but there are some great recordings, particularly on the first 3 discs. However, the final CD in the set is rather disappointing, with far too many Johnny Temple pieces for my liking. If you can get it cheap, it's well worth having.

Peter T., what are the details of the Columbia/Legacy 4CD set to which you refer? I have the wonderful 1992 4CD box set: Various Artists: 'Roots N'Blues - The Retrospective 1925-1950' Columbia/Legacy C4K 47911. However, it can't be the same as the set you are talking about - it covers both white and black traditions and its first CD ends with Daniels-Deason Sacred Harp Singers. I thought the Roots N' Blues series had ground to a halt, so I would be very interested to know the details of your set.


12 Jul 00 - 10:11 PM (#256877)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Guy Wolff

Robert Johnson is always at the top of my list.. I like the above mentioned.I learned of Missisipy Fred Macdowel in these threads when asking who everyone liked for playing slide.. His name came up alot for good reasons.. All the best , Guy

12 Jul 00 - 10:28 PM (#256884)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: ddw

Didn't see mention of a couple of my favorites Josh White and Bukka White. And if you're not limited to blues on guitar, anything by James Cotton is worthwhile. I've got his Livin' The Blues CD loaded up in the car right now and love it every time it comes up.


12 Jul 00 - 11:44 PM (#256909)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: WyoWoman

I have several compilation CDs from the House of Blues, which I like a lot, especially for someone just getting his/her feet wet. Lots of different artists and style and you can see what suits you. I especially like the two "Essential Women in Blues" CDs -- KoKo Taylor, Ida cox, Ruth Brown, Alberta Hunter, Etta James, Sippie Wallace, Big Maybelle, etc., etc.

although the site seems awfully damned busy and full of eye candy, I think you can order the CDs from here:

House of Blues

Have mercy and say 'yeah,'


13 Jul 00 - 12:22 AM (#256917)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Sandy Paton

For women: I Can't Be Satisfied, Volumes 1 & 2 from YAZOO (part of Shanachie Entertainment). I also like Roots of Robert Johnson, also on YAZOO as a sampler. Camsco has these, so check 'em out in the Mudcat Shop and keep it in the family.


13 Jul 00 - 12:27 AM (#256920)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: WyoWoman

Good thinkin,' Sandy.


13 Jul 00 - 01:22 AM (#256942)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Lepus Rex

Personally, I'd recommend starting with the oldest, rawest, most archaic-sounding field recordings you can find of rural black folk music. I think it would give one a better understanding of the music and it's history to start like that, and then move forward to more modern sounds. A series of recordings that I really love (and recommend to boredatwork) is the 'Deep River of Song' series on Rounder.

Or maybe I'm just babbling because dwditty used EVERY SINGLE ONE of my planned recommendations, hehehe... Oh, wait. I like Victoria Spivey a lot, too.


13 Jul 00 - 06:18 AM (#256979)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: GUEST,grateful at work

thanks for all the suggestions. Will look through them at home later. V.Grateful

13 Jul 00 - 06:51 AM (#256982)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: GeorgeH

If you need to ask the question, and want something more recent rather than original (in the historical sense) I'd certainly recommend Martin Simpson's "Smoke and Mirrors" CD. Outstanding in its own right, he made it as a tribute to his blues influences (many of whom have been recommended above) and an indication of where they've taken him.

Then his recording company screwed up, and embarassed Martin, by getting a lot of the credits wrong. But that's another story.


13 Jul 00 - 07:03 AM (#256984)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: dwditty

Hey Rex, if it's archaic-sounding field recordings, then we have to inlude Sam Charters' 1958 field recordings of Joseph Spence. While not blues, the guitar playing will blow anyone away. Warning: don't try to sing along.


13 Jul 00 - 07:14 AM (#256988)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: dwditty

Some others to look for:
Lil Johnson (Never Let Your Left Hand Know), Memphis Minnie, Henry Thomas (Fishin' Blues), Blind Willie Johnson (Wow), King Solomon Hill, Tommy Johnson (Canned Heat0, Skip James (Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues), Big Boy Crudup, Robert Pete Williams, Sonny Boy Williamson, Peetie Wheatstraw, Roosevelt Sykes, Speckled Red, Hi Henry Brown, Yank Rachel, Frank Stokes, Furry Lewis,....

Aren't you glad you asked? I guess the point is, pick up a good sampler, give it a listen. Ignore the noise of that "old scratchy sound" and some really amazing music will come through.


13 Jul 00 - 09:56 AM (#257045)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: GUEST,Casey

The Platinum Collection BLUES,BLUES,BLUES

is a great collection. It includes Joe Turner, Tampa Red, Robert Johnson, on and on. I picked it up for about $10.

Also very good is The Slide Guitar Bottlers,Knives &Steel

Have fun! Casey

13 Jul 00 - 10:39 AM (#257070)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: Whistle Stop

As Steve Latimer mentioned, the blues is a big and multi-faceted category. For electric Chicago blues, a personal favorite is BB King: Live At The Regal.

18 Jul 00 - 10:57 AM (#260019)
Subject: RE: which Blues CD
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

There is a list of 75 "essential" recordings on the Harry's Blues Lyrics page (link in Max's links at the top of the page) It includes the followng compliations (was in chart form so I don't know how th formatting will come out)
Various artists Alligator Records-25th Anniversary Collection Alligator 110/111 contemporary 2 40 Various artists Blues Masters, Vol. 2: Post-War Chicago Blues Rhino R2-71122 Chicago 1 41 Various artists Blues Masters, Vol. 3: Texas Blues Rhino R2-71123 Texas 1 42 Various artists Blues Masters, Vol. 11: Classic Blues Women Rhino R2-71134 classic female 1 43 Various artists Chess Blues MCA 9340 Chicago 4 441 Various artists Mean Old World: The Blues from 1940 to 19941 Smithsonian Collection 110 various styles 4 451 Various artists The Blues: Smithsonian Collection of Classic Blues Singers1 Smithsonian Collection 101 various styles 4 46 Various artists Trouble in Mind: Original Blues Standards Indigo 2079 various style