|· A pair of blues labels serve up several samplings from artists on their roster. Each album sold separately.
If there was a contest for the cheesiest album art, Blind Pig Records would go to the Olympics for featuring the pained, painted ladies and their talented cleavage on the covers of their new blues series. And as much as reviewers sometimes (well, OK, often) are accused of judging a CD by its cover ("Hey, you stupid deaf bitch, did you even listen to that album before you wrote the review?"), in this case, that would be a shame.
It would be a shame because tracks by artists such as Charlie Musselwhite, Big Bill Morganfield and Taj Mahal are tossed alongside tracks by a plethora of less prominent blues players, creating an intriguing if sometimes uneven offering. Even a picky blues fan will likely discover an unknown gem or two somewhere within these 42 songs.
And if these albums are like different boxes of chocolates you never know what you are going to get then the Alligator Records series has way more delicious, intoxicating liqueur-filled chocolates in their box. Tracks by artists such as Koko Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor, Elvin Bishop, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Johnny Winter are cornerstones, while other acts like The Kinsey Report and Floyd Dixon serve up delightful surprises. The combination makes these CDs a good starter set for people looking to learn about the blues, but at the same time theyre a high-quality addition to any hardcore blues lovers shelf.
BLIND PIG 3/5
MARY LYNN McEWEN