The Blues: African American World Music

Various Artists – The Rough Guide to the Blues (World Music Network, 2007)

B.B. King –  20th Century Masters: BB King – The Best of B.B. King, the Millennium Collection

Two recent recordings are great introductions to some of the masters of the blues. Choosing who got to be on The Rough Guide to the Blues was probably a really difficult decision. With some many important and influential artists, it’s hard to choose. Nevertheless, the producer did a really good job.

The Rough Guide to the Blues shows what the early blues recordings sounded like. For example, Mamie Smith’s style, from the early 20th century, features a big band format, with a strong brass section.

The compilation continues with additional pioneers, such as Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, and Memphis Minnie, the legendary Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, Pete Johnson & Joe Turner, all of whom use acoustic or electric guitars as accompaniment.

There is a live song, "Mannish Boy," by the influential Muddy Waters, who inspired hundreds, if not thousands, of rock guitarists. The list of influential 20th century guitarists and singers continues with Howlin’ Wolf, T-Bone Walker, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Albert Collins and R. L. Burnside.

Other artists represented are Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor.

There is even a piece by an African musician, the late Ali Farka Toure, who was known as a master of Malian blues.

B.B. King  is one of the living legends of the blues and one oif the finest blues guitarists of all time. To get a glimpse of his extensive career, listen to 20th Century Masters: BB King – The Best of B.B. King, the Millennium Collection. This recent compilations contains some of his best known songs and hits. There are many other compilations out there, which are more extensive, but this one is budget priced and eco friendly. It includes various stages and styles, ranging from kick ass live blues to jazzy grooves and even R&B.

The album includes The Thrill Is Gone, Ain’t Nobody Home, Let The Good Times Roll, Guess Who, I Like To Live The Love, Don’t Answer The Door, Sweet Sixteen, Paying The Cost To Be The Boss, I Got Some Help I Don’t Need and Into The Night.

Buy Rough Guide to the Blues and  20th Century Masters: BB King – The Best of B.B. King, the Millennium Collection