John Lee Hooker, as anyone with a decent-sized blues collection knows, recorded for a virtual parade of labels early in his career, including Chess, although his stays with the company were fairly brief. Hooker's best early recordings, most would agree, were issued on Modern and Vee-Jay, not Chess.
A classic recording by one of Chicago blues' finest living legends, Left My Blues in San Francisco consists of 11 smoking tracks, featuring Buddy Guy's matchless guitar work and equally distinctive vocals. This recording is for people who like their blues straight up; like whiskey, it burns all the way through. Included are some of Guy's classic original songs, such as "She Suits Me to a Tee" and "I Suffer with the Blues," as well as excellent performances of "Buddy's Groove," "Keep It to Yourself," and "Goin' Home." All of this material can also be found on the Complete Chess Studio Recordings collection, but if you're new to Buddy Guy, Left My Blues in San Francisco is an excellent place to start.
Starkly printed in black and white with washed-out, grainy photographs, this is one heavy slab of blues by a player who is not as well-known as he should be. Guitarist Jimmy Rogers was usually overshadowed by the leaders he worked for, Muddy Waters particularly. He was also sometimes confused with the hillbilly singer Jimmie Rodgers, and although they might have sounded good together, they don't have anything in common. This reissue collection grabs 14 tracks done at various times in the mostly early '50s which involve practically a who's who of performers associated with the most intense and driving Chicago blues. This includes the aforementioned Waters, leaving behind his role as leader for a few numbers to add some stinging guitar parts. There is also a pair of harmonica players, each of whom could melt vinyl siding with their playing. These are the Walters, big and little, as in Big Walter Horton and Little Walter. Pianist Otis Spann, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Fred Belew are also on hand, meaning the rhythm section action is first class.