Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Various Artists - Chess Blues-Rock Songbook (MCA/Chess, 1997)

Well, there's not a lot of rock 'n' roll on this particular collection, just another marketing ploy and a way to slice up the much anthologized Chess blues catalog again. But that criticism aside, this is actually a very fun collection to listen to - the music is beyond reproach, and I can imagine that this would be a revelation to anyone raised on rock music and is starting to investigate the history of the music to its roots. All of the big names from the Chess glory years are here: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson; and are some of the lesser known members of the Chess stable like Willie Mabon and J.B. Lenoir. Listening to the music here, you can really draw a line from the deep bluesmen who came up from the south after World War II through to early rock 'n' roll legends like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley and then finally to blues influenced rockers like the Rolling Stones. Anyone who is interested in the history of American music in the 20th Century, but is unfamiliar with the Chess Records story will find the music here a treasure.

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