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So what's it all about...

What to do if a close relative of you, let's say a nephew and let's call this, eh, imaginary nephew "Alex", would ask you the following question: "He uncle Harry, this professor of mine would like to start a basic blues genre CD collection with just 75 CD's. Could you put together a list for her?". Right... You probably swallow and collect yourself again before finally answering the question with something stupid like this: "Sure Alex, no problem!".

The mission...

"To compile a list of blues genre wide recordings for starting a blues music collection, primarily, but not only, intended for people new to the blues genre."
Further down this page you'll find the 4th edition of "The List". You are invited to mail me any motivated suggestions you have for "The List". Many thanks in advance!.

New! The Short List...

Is 75 CD's too much for ya for starters?. As an alternative to this list or putting together your own list, you could choose a collection put together by a record company. Have a look at the 15 CD's blues collection short list!

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The terms and conditions...

I know, I know... 75 CD's is waaay to few to do the rich legacy of the blues justice and it will do a lot of artists who won't appear on the listed albums injustice!. But that's the challenge that has been put to me. So here are the terms and conditions the "The List" has to comply to, it has to:

-

consist of no more then 75 CD's. In a multi-disc album or box set, each CD will count as 1 of 75 CD's;

-

span all blues decades starting with the 1920's up to and including the 1990's;

-

encompass all 9 basic styles of blues: Chicago, Country, Delta, East Coast, Harmonica, Louisiana, Modern Electric, Texas and West Coast Blues;

-

have male and female performers;

-

have acoustic and electric blues;

-

have, but not be limited to, guitar, harmonica and piano based blues;

-

being a starters collection it ofcourse will have many but may not just consist of "The Complete Recorded Works of..." and "Best of..." albums;

-

and finally but not the least important: all listed albums have to be in print and/or be available for purchase, online or offline!.


The List...

After posting the 1st edition (copy here, 2nd edition copy here, 3rd edition copy here) I received a lot of suggestions and "corrections"; thanks to all these contributors!. Just the cheer number of suggestions meant that not all of them could be added to the list, I had to make some tough choices. I hope you won't be too disappointed if your suggestions are not (all) added to the 4th edition of the list.
In it's 4th edition the list now consists of 52 albums with 75 CD's. This means that adding new artists and/or albums can only be done by removing existing entries in the list. The list will stay open for suggestions but, as the list will be refined with each edition, it will become increasingly more difficult to get your suggestion actually on the list. Still, feel free to mail me motivated suggestions for the list!. Your comments and suggestions on all selected albums are welcome as well!. Listed in alphabetical order by artist.

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(Don't forget to come back now...)

4th edition, posted July 12, 2000, * = new additions (1st edition posted Februay 12, 2000)
No

Artist(s)

Album

Label/Cat.No.

Blues Style3

CD
1

Big Bill Broonzy

The Young Big Bill Broonzy (1928-35)

Yazoo 1011

ac. Chicago

1
2

Blind Boy Fuller

Truckin' My Blues Away

Yazoo 1060

East coast

1
*3

Blind Lemon Jefferson

King of the Country Blues

Yazoo 1069

acoustic Texas

1
4

Blind Willie Johnson

Complete Recordings of Blind Willie Johnson

Col./Legacy 52835

acoustic Texas

2
5

Blind Willie McTell

The Definitive Blind Willie McTell

Col./Legacy 475701

prewar country

2
6

Clapton, Eric

From the Cradle

Reprise 45735

electric Britisch

1
7

Collins, Albert

Ice Pickin'

Alligator 4713

electric Texas

1
8

Guitar Slim

Sufferin' Mind

Specialty 7007

el. New Orleans

1
9

Guy, Buddy

Buddy's Blues (Chess 50th Anniversary Coll.)

MCA 9374

electric Chicago

1
10

Hooker, John Lee

The Legendary Modern Recordings 1948-1954

Virgin 39658

Delta

1
11

Hooker, John Lee

The Ultimate Collection (1948-1990)

Rhino R2-70572

Delta

2
12

House, Son

Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete '65 Sessions

Columbia 48867

Delta

2
13

Howlin' Wolf

His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)

MCA 9375

Chicago

1
14

James, Elmore

The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James

Rhino R2-71190

electric Chicago

1
15

Johnson, Robert

The Complete Recordings

Col./Legacy 46222

Delta

2
*16

Junior Wells

Hoodoo Man Blues

Delmark DD-612

electric Chicago

1
17

Keb' Mo'

Keb' Mo'

Sony 57863

modern blues

1
18

King, Albert

King of the Blues Guitar

Atlantic 8213-2

soul blues

1
19

King, B.B.

King of the Blues

MCA D4-10677

modern electric

4
20

King, B.B.

Live at the Regal

MCA 11646

modern electric

1
21

King, Freddie

Hide Away: The Best of Freddie King

Rhino R2-71510

modern electric

1
22

Lewis, Furry

In His Prime (1927-1928)

Yazoo 1050

ac. Memphis

1
23

Lightnin' Hopkins

Mojo Hand: The Anthology

R2-71226

Texas

2
24

Little Walter

His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)

MCA 9384

el. harmonica

1
25

Magic Sam

West Side Soul

Delmark DD-615

electric Chicago

1
26

Mayfield, Percy

Poet of the Blues

Specialty 7001

West coast

1
27

Memphis Minnie

Hoodoo Lady (1933-1937)

Columbia

ac. Chicago

1
28

Mississippi John Hurt

Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings

Sony 64986

prewar country

1
29

Patton, Charley

Founder of the Delta Blues

Yazoo 1020

Delta

1
30

Piazza, Rod

The Essential Collection

Hightone 8041

West coast

1
31

Rush, Otis

Ain't Enough Comin' In

Polygram 518769

electric Chicago

1
32

Shepherd, Kenny W.

Ledbetter Heights

WB 24621

contemporary

1
33

Slim Harpo

Scratch My Back: The Best of Slim Harpo

Rhino R2-70169

el. Louisiana

1
34

Smith, Bessie

The Essential Bessie Smith

Col./Legacy 64922

classic female

2
35

Sykes, Roosevelt

Roosevelt Sykes (1929-1941)

Story o/t Blues 3542

piano blues

1
36

Tampa Red

The Guitar Wizard

Col./Legacy 53235

ac. Chicago

1
37

Taylor, Koko

What It Takes: The Chess Years

MCA 9328

electric Chicago

1
38

T-Bone Walker

The Complete Imperial Recordings

EMI 96737

electric Texas

2
39

Various artists

Alligator Records-25th Anniversary Collection

Alligator 110/111

contemporary

2
40

Various artists

Blues Masters, Vol. 2: Post-War Chicago Blues

Rhino R2-71122

Chicago

1
41

Various artists

Blues Masters, Vol. 3: Texas Blues

Rhino R2-71123

Texas

1
42

Various artists

Blues Masters, Vol. 11: Classic Blues Women

Rhino R2-71134

classic female

1
43

Various artists

Chess Blues

MCA 9340

Chicago

4
441

Various artists

Mean Old World: The Blues from 1940 to 19941

Smithsonian Collection 110

various styles

4
451

Various artists

The Blues: Smithsonian Collection of Classic Blues Singers1

Smithsonian Collection 101

various styles

4
46

Various artists

Trouble in Mind: Original Blues Standards

Indigo 2079

various styles

1
47

Vaughan, Stevie Ray

Greatest Hits

Sony 66217

mod. el. Texas

1
48

Waters, Muddy

The Complete Plantation Recordings

MCA 9344

electric Chicago

1
49

Waters, Muddy

The Chess Box

MCA CHD3-80002

electric Chicago

3
50

White, Josh

Blues Singer 1932-1936

Sony 67001

Piedmont

1
51

Williamson II, Sonny Boy

His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection)

MCA 9377

harmonica

1
52

Witherspoon, Jimmy

Blowin' in from Kansas City

Capitol 86299

Jazz blues

1

.

.

Total no. of CD's

75

Price: on average the collection will cost you US Dollar 12 per CD. 1 US Dollar is approximately 1 Euro.

Note 1: more info about these selections at this link Smithsonian Institution Press, tel. U.S. (800) 863-9943.
Note 2: estimated price
Note 3: ac.=acoustic, el.=electric, mod.=modern.

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New! The Short List...

This list is based on the widely available Rhino Blues Masters series that covers a wide variety of blues styles and artists. There are more of these multi-volume blues series out there but most of them are artist based and not style based like this series and as far as I know the Rhino Blues Masters series is the best of the latter category. Not unimportant for a starters collection: the volumes of this series come with good liner notes and overall sound quality is ok!. The series consists of 15 volumes plus 3 "More of..." volumes plus 1 sampler.

Depending on where you buy it you can pick up a volume for as less as USD 9 (Feb. 2000) at Tower Records (www.towerrecords.com) or for the list price of USD 11,50 (Feb. 2000) at www.cdnow.com. At these prices the 15 CD set will cost you USD 135, 172,50 resp. or if you go for all 18 volumes + sampler USD 171, USD 218,5 resp. European visitors might check out the belgian e-store www.proxis.be, they have an extensive blues collection and reasonable prices, you pay about 13 Euro per volume. These are just three places on the internet I checked, you might even get a better deal at your local record store.

Ruler

1st edition, posted February 20, 2000
No.

Album

No. songs

Label/Cat.No.

Price, USD
1

Blues Masters, Vol. 1: Urban Blues

18

Rhino R2-71121

9 / 11,5
2

Blues Masters, Vol. 2: Post-War Chicago

18

Rhino R2-71122

9 / 11,5
3

Blues Masters, Vol. 3: Texas Blues

18

Rhino R2-71123

9 / 11,5
4

Blues Masters, Vol. 4: Harmonica Classics

18

Rhino R2-71124

9 / 11,5
5

Blues Masters, Vol. 5: Jump Blues Classics

18

Rhino R2-71125

9 / 11,5
6

Blues Masters, Vol. 6: Blues Originals

18

Rhino R2-71127

9 / 11,5
7

Blues Masters, Vol. 7: Blues Revival

17

Rhino R2-71128

9 / 11,5
8

Blues Masters, Vol. 8: Mississippi Delta Blues

18

Rhino R2-71130

9 / 11,5
9

Blues Masters, Vol. 9: Postmodern Blues

16

Rhino R2-71132

9 / 11,5
10

Blues Masters, Vol. 10: Blues Roots

16

Rhino R2-71135

9 / 11,5
11

Blues Masters, Vol. 11: Classic Blues Women

18

Rhino R2-71134

9 / 11,5
12

Blues Masters, Vol. 12: Memphis Blues

18

Rhino R2-71129

9 / 11,5
13

Blues Masters, Vol. 13: New York City Blues

18

Rhino R2-71131

9 / 11,5
14

Blues Masters, Vol. 14: More Jump Blues

18

Rhino R2-71133

9 / 11,5
15

Blues Masters, Vol. 15: Slide Guitar Classics

18

Rhino R2-71126

9 / 11,5

.

plus

265

.

135 / 172,50
16

Blues Masters, Vol. 16: More Harmonica Classics

16

Rhino R2-75346

9 / 11,5
17

Blues Masters, Vol. 17: More Postmodern Blues

16

Rhino R2-75347

9 / 11,5
18

Blues Masters, Vol. 18: More Slide Guitar Classics

18

Rhino R2-75348

9 / 11,5
19

Blues Masters Sampler

15

Rhino R2-71401

9 / 11,5

.

Total no. of songs and estimated price:
330

.

171 / 218,50

Price: indication of price in US Dollar (USD). 1 US Dollar is approximately 1 Euro.

Ruler

Site created by:
Bluesman Harry
Page last updated on:
August 18 2000


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