Elmore James - Greatest Hits

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Elmore James - Greatest Hits

Postby blueswriter » Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:38 pm

Elmore James
Greatest Hits – The Very Best Of
Rhino (2007) 79803

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16 tracks, 44 minutes. Recommended. It’s been said that both death and taxes are two things one can always count on, but there is most certainly a third; Elmore James remains one of the most influential guitar players in history. While it’s a safe bet this release won’t set off any alarms among seasoned collectors of Post-war blues, for those not yet familiar with Elmore James, Rhino’s repackaging of this disc will surely prove a fine introduction. There won't be any reissue trophies because of the short 44-minute spin time, and the disc won’t be carrying home any awards for the spiffy-but-similar cardboard outer sleeve that houses the same Rhino cover many will recall, but it’s what’s inside that counts and it counts big. Extensive use of spectacularly-placed adjectives relating the importance of Elmore’s careening slide guitar will do no justice, nor will repeated phrases of adulation describe his voice in any better detail than countless writers before have attempted. His thick, abrasive six-string tone stands as one of the true wonders of the universe and his impassioned voice should cause the hair on any living creature to stand at attention. You get Dust My Broom, his one-and-only side for the Trumpet label, a handful of cuts waxed for Modern and Flair including the ridiculously insane Hawaiian Boogie, and 1957’s The Twelve Year Old Boy with a guitar break that can still reduce grown men to whimpering toddlers. More sides from Chief, Vee Jay and Fire and a few that were cut for Chicago’s Chess brothers fill out a set that includes Madison Blues, The Sky Is Crying, Done Somebody Wrong, Shake Your Moneymaker and more. This has all been said hundreds of times but there are still readers and listeners who haven’t dared the deep end of the pool for fear of drowning. And it’s all been issued before in various forms under myriad banners over many years, but it still boils down to one thing… no one should go through life without the company of the late, great Elmore James. Plain and simple, he was that good!

Elmore James - Rhino

© 2008 by Craig Ruskey
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