Hopkins' earliest recordings in a nice package, booklet with biography, discography, and many detailed informations - plus great sound quality. This is where it all began for the Houston troubadour: 43 solo sides, as evocative and stark as any he ever did, from 1946-1948. The first 13 sides find the guitarist in tandem with pianist Wilson "Thunder" Smith (who handles the vocals on a few tracks), but after that, old Lightnin' Hopkins went the solo route. "Katie May," "Short Haired Woman," "Abilene," "Shotgun" – all these and more rate with his seminal performances.
Blue Note's The Return of Art Pepper: The Complete Art Pepper Aladdin Recordings compiles the 13 final masters that the alto saxophonist recorded for Aladdin between August 1956 and January 1957. These are titled The Return of Art Pepper, since they were recorded shortly after he completed a jail sentence in 1956. As a result, Pepper's chops are a little rusty, but you can hear that he still has a passion for playing, and he does improve over the course of these tracks. For serious Pepper fans, it's worth a listen, but for less dedicated fans, there are better places to become acquainted with his work.
Aladdin Records, based in Los Angeles, was a very influential label in American music history. This is not the full story of Aladdin Records but it's a very good sampler of the label's output from 1947-1961. It's 50 tracks, 25 tracks on each of the 2CDs in the set, of very good R&B from the period. Each CD is about 60 minutes playing time. The sound is good for recordings of this era. Amos Milburn, Lightnin' Hopkins, Lowell Fulson, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown, Billie Holliday, Shirley & Lee, Gene & Eunic, Bobby Wall, Thurston Harris, The Velvetones and many more.