Buddy Guy today remains one of the true international superstars of the Blues. One of his musically most glorious periods was the three classic albums he cut for JSP Records ("D.J. Play My Blues" "Breaking Out" and "Live at the Checkerboard Lounge") and the guesting on brother Phil Guy's wonderful debut album "Red Hot Blues". This compilation features some of the best cuts from that period and those albums. Buddy plays some hot guitar here and is stylistically moving forward from his sixties stuff to the ultra commercial things of today. Buddy always knew that the world would catch up eventually and he would become a superstar - the music here will tell you why.
An intensely powerful singer and guitarist, Elmore James did not start his recording career until he was 33, and he only lived to be 45, but he made a very strong impact during his dozen years on records. Some of his finest work was cut for the Fire label during 1959-1961, roughly half of which is included on this single CD. Other than a final outburst of selections during February 1963, these were James' last studio sessions, and he is heard at the peak of his powers throughout. Among the best-known performances are the hit "Shake Your Moneymaker," "The Sky Is Crying," and a remake of his famous "Dust My Broom," but all 16 selections are full of passion and fire. This is an essential acquisition for blues collectors, at least until a more complete James on Fire reissue comes out.
This single-CD compilation doesn't do too much more than scratch the surface of the band's sound at its most popular points, but it does do one thing that no prior Moody Blues compilation ever did – it includes "Go Now," which, as the notes point out, is still the group's top-charting single in England. What it doesn't do is get "Go Now" in really good sound (no one seems to have a proper master source) or include their even better follow-up single, "From the Bottom of My Heart."
For those needing a reminder of Cole's very original and expert piano playing, this 18-track roundup of some of his best instrumentals should fit the bill. Part of Capitol's three-volume series of Cole's classic trio sides (the other two cover the vocals), The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio includes gem after gem from the group's 1943-1949 prime and features the classic lineup that included guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Johnny Miller. With Cole and Moore seamlessly blending lines throughout, the group forged the standard for many a piano trio to follow by way of classics like "Jumpin' at Capitol," "Sweet Georgia Brown," and "These Foolish Things"…
This 19-track compilation focuses on Elmore James' crucial sessions recorded for the Modern Records subsidiaries Meteor and Flair between 1952 and 1956. At the time of these recordings, the distorted amplified sound of James' slide guitar with his unmistakable electrified Robert Johnson lick was helping map out the postwar blues idiom with such classics as "I Believe," "Blues Before Sunrise," "Wild About You," "Mean & Evil," and the extraordinary reworking of Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" into "Dust My Blues." Even though roughly half of these tracks appear on the equally recommended 1986 Ace release Let's Cut It: The Very Best of Elmore James, this set is a great introduction to the dynamic slide guitarist's earliest recordings.
The Smithereens already have a single-disc compilation, 1995's excellent Blown to Smithereens: The Best of the Smithereens. Released in 2004, From Jersey It Came! The Smithereens Anthology expands on that collection, taking 15 of its 16 songs (a cover of the Outsiders' "Time Won't Let Me" is left behind) and adding 24 other tunes, including their version of "Downbound Train" from a Bruce Springsteen tribute and a selection from 1999's God Save the Smithereens, for a grand total of 39 tracks over two discs…
"I'll do this one more time and if I can't do it, we'll do another song. I'll do any song as good as I can do it the first time." Bob Dylan says these words once his first solo take of "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" breaks down after a minute. Dylan's definition of "good" is fluid, of course. Sometimes, a first take satisfied him – "Maggie's Farm" and "Gates of Eden" are two prime examples – but often he'd find he could do a song better or at least do it differently, swapping out words, speeding up the tempo, and changing the feel, occasionally radically transforming his song.