A Century of Blues

A Century of Blues

With a title like <I>A Century of Blues</I> you're probably expecting an organised journey through the decades of blues history. Abandon the thought. Whoever compiled this collection might as well have been blindfolded. For a start, the recordings span 1939-92, but most of them are from the 1940s to 1970s, so two decades of early blues recording have been overlooked. Nor do the three CDs tell a consecutive story. Each is the same sort of jumble of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, T-Bone Walker, etc., often bizarrely juxtaposed--the slide-guitar gospel of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "Jesus Is On The Mainline" followed by the Californian nightclub blues of Floyd Dixon's "Tired, Broke And Busted". That said, this is a blues banquet of gargantuan proportions with dishes for every taste, ranging from Son House, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Joe Williams and Joe Turner to Johnny Winter, George Thorogood, Canned Heat and Dr Feelgood, and, at this price, splendid value. Just so long as you don't mind the courses coming in the wrong order. <I>--Tony Russell</I>