This 52-disc (no, that is not a typo) comp, ABC of the Blues: The Ultimate Collection from the Delta to the Big Cities, may just indeed live up to its name. There are 98 artists represented , performing 1,040 tracks. The music begins at the beginning (though the set is not sequenced chronologically) with Charlie Patton, Son House, and Robert Johnson, and moves all the way through the vintage Chicago years of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, with stops along the way in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, New York, and all points in between. Certainly, some of these artists are considered more rhythm & blues than purely blues artists: the inclusion of music by Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, Bo Diddley, and others makes that clear…
When Sippie Wallace recorded 'Bedroom Blues' in 1926 Chicago's Black population was about 160.000 and by the time Roosevelt Sykes recorded 'This Tavern Boggie' in 1945 it was nearer 400.000. The country had gone through Prohibition, the Depression and the Second World War and Chicago has experienced the massive migration from the South; nothing would be the same again, including the blues.
Axel Zwingenberger´s recordings with the last grand lady of the Vaudeville-Blues of the twenties, singer Sippie Wallace.
Includes many of Sippie Wallace's own groundbreaking compositions as well as other classic Blues songs, accompanied by Axel Zwingenberger at the piano.
This box is separated into 4 categories by CD: Guitar, Piano, Vocalists and Chicago. The assortment is staggering…contains tracks by all of these must-hear artists: John Lee Hooker, the Kings (BB, Freddie and Albert) on the Guitar ad Chicago CDs, as well as Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor…on the Piano CD you get "Champion" Jack Dupree, Big Joe Turner, Dr. John AND Professor Longhair AND Ray Charles.
This has been around as a bootleg for some time, a great radio broadcast from February 1972 featuring mainly Bonnie with Freebo on bass but also T. J. Tindle on lead guitar and John Davis playing harp on a couple of tracks. The sound quality isn't perfect but it's pretty good and it captures Bonnie doing material from her first two albums as well as some songs that have never been officially released - Steve Winwood's 'Can't Find My Way Home', John Hurt's 'Richland Woman Blues' and her own song 'Blender Blues'. Although Bonnie sounds young (she was only 22) she also sounds very confident and relaxed, her voice is perfectly controlled and her guitar playing is particularly good on blues like Robert Johnson's 'Walking blues' and 'Richland Woman Blues'.
The Blues Masters series, much to Rhino`s credit, adopts an expansive definition of blues, allowing the likes of Count Basie, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Muddy Waters and even Louis Prima admission. There is none of the purist`s quibbling over strict 12-bar form or the relative significance of prewar and postwar styles.
What Rhino delivers instead is the blues in all its myriad guises. This music is old and new, black and white, acoustic and electric, folksy and jazzy, performed by women and men, and yet it is all still blues at its core.