Muddy, Buddy and a Hooker - Box Set Reviews

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Muddy, Buddy and a Hooker - Box Set Reviews

Postby blueswriter » Wed Jan 03, 2007 4:42 am

MUDDY WATERS
King Of Chicago Blues
Proper (2006) BOX 102

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4 CDs, 97 tracks, 280 minutes. Highly recommended. The UK-based Proper label has done another fine job on this budget-priced 4-CD box set of a nice variety of material Muddy Waters recorded between 1941 and 1955. Disc one's 22 cuts are made up of a baker's dozen from Stovall's Plantation in 1941/42 for the Library Of Congress, his Chicago debut - as James "Sweet Lucy" Carter - on Mean Red Spider, plus Muddy's 1946 recordings behind Homer Harris and James "Beale Street" Clark as well as the Columbia sides Jitterbug Blues, Hard Day Blues, and Burying Ground Blues. Disc two pulls together 24 tracks recorded between 1947 and 1950 originally issued on the Aristocrat imprint, while discs three and four deliver 51 sides that found their home on the Chess label spanning six years from early 1950 to late 1955. While much of this material is available elsewhere, it's good to see some oddball titles that don't show up on every Muddy Waters compilation that comes down the pike; Howling Wolf, My Fault, Flood, My Life Is Ruined, Sad Sad Day, Loving Man, She's So Pretty, Smokestack Lightning, I Don't Know Why, This Pain, I Got To Find My Baby, Clouds In My Heart, and much more. Sound quality is solid all the way through, although maybe not quite as good as the remastered MCA/Universal issues of Muddy's work, but it's a great value with nice packaging and a booklet that includes lengthy liner notes, session details, and a fine assortment of vintage photos of this Chicago Blues giant.

Roots & Rhythm

JOHN LEE HOOKER
Hooker
Shout Factory (2006) 10198

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4 CDs, 86 tracks, 302 minutes - highly recommended. Spanning a full five decades from 1948 through 1998 marks this 4-CD boxed set devoted to the Boogie Man as one to add to the shelves. Disc one collects 26 tacks from '48 to '54 from such labels as Modern, King, Staff, Sensation and Regal (among others) while disc two and its 25 cuts cover '56 to '64 concentrating primarily on Vee Jay titles as well as tracks recorded for Riverside, Savoy and a few sides cut for Henry Stone in Miami, including the brilliant Don't Turn Me From Your Door. Disc three delivers 16 titles dating from 1966 through '86, including a couple of Chess sides, plus material from the Impulse, Bluesway, and Pausa imprints while the fourth and final CD covers 1987 though '98 and is made up of a wide-ranging cast of all-stars including Bonnie Raitt, Carlos Santana, Robert Cray, Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, Warren Haynes, John Hammond, Cesar Rosas and others. The 60 page booklet features session details and extensive liner notes and while there's nothing in the way of previously unissued titles, the set does a marvelous job introducing neophytes to Hooker's music and influence, and should also please hardcore collectors as well with its stunning cross-section of material from bare-bones solo outings to the all-star aggregations.

Proper Records

BUDDY GUY
Can't Quit The Blues
Silvertone (2006) 81967

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3 CDs, 47 tracks, 220 minutes - 1 DVD, 11 tracks, 90 minutes - excellent. Buddy Guy's recording itinerary now spans five full decades dating from his Baton Rouge demo, waxed in 1957, The Way You Been Treating Me (included), through a 2006 cut for a Sly & The Family Stone tribute (not included). This set's first disc hands in 18 tracks and spans his initial outing in '57 (and superb it is) through a handful of JSP dates as well as making stops that (all too shortly) focus on Buddy's time at Artistic, Chess, Delmark, Vanguard and Atco while the other two CDs amass 29 sides - all devoted to Guy's Silvertone sessions (1991-present). The DVD includes nine songs from Montreux (two from 1974 and another pairing from 1978 with the remainder going to 1992, 1998, and 2002) plus two more from Seattle's Paramount Theatre in 2004. The major complaint with this set is its short-sightededness as it skims lightly over his first two-and-a-half decades of recording on one disc while the remaining two discs scan the last 15 years. For those preferring the earlier (and less bombastic) days of Buddy Guy, it doesn't offer anything new, although there are a handful of previously unreleased Silvertone cuts, and, until now, some unseen DVD footage. In booklet form with 40+ pages of liner notes, including a timeline of Guy's career, it's nicely packaged even if it stops short of the extensive box set Buddy deserves.

Buddy Guy - Legacy

All discs reviewed can be purchased from Frank Scott's Roots & Rhythm website as well as by using the provided links following each review.

© 2007 by Craig Ruskey
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Postby herb_ransburg » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:50 am

Good Evening Blues Fans,

Just wanted to add my commentary on the Buddy Guy Box Set. The thing is killer! Did you hear me? Totally Killer!

The best thing, besides all the cuts, is the 90 minute interview with Mr. Guy. I, personally, find the interviews with the greats just as inspiring as the music. We can never under estimate the dedication the forefathers had to their craft and our art. The interviews on many of the DVDs that are now available are priceless. If you don't buy the box set, at least keep scouring the net for a copy of the interview.

Please, enjoy the music and keep appreciating the history!

Herb
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