This stalwart independent label, headquartered in San Francisco, began in a small Ann Arbor club and grew into one of the most important imprints in blues. Thirty-three tunes ricochet between the potent old-school Chicago stylings of Buddy Guy and Junior Wells's classic "Hoodoo Man Blues" and Big Walter Horton'ss swinging shuffle "Put the Kettle On" to the intriguing pop-folk hybrid of Roy Rogers and Norton Buffalo and the dashing retro-nuevo guitarisms of Nick Curran & the Niteflies to the brawny Texas-schooled sounds of Omar & the Howlers and Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King. The label's Delta blues side is underrepresented, although James Cotton and Elvin Bishop offer two great flavors of cottonland grind.
This solid 2-disc compilation celebrates two decades of this label's existence. There are many worthwhile tracks but few surprises.
By the end of 2015, exactly December 12, Frank Sinatra would have been 100 years old. An anniversary celebrated around the world for the first six months of 2016 with concerts, exhibitions, initiatives, records. The Hello Frank: The Anniversary Collection contains 12 CDs for a total of 170 songs including the most popular "I´ve got under my skin", "My funny Valentine", "Ol ´my river", "Blue skyes "," Sweet Lorraine "and many more.
Starting with its 20th anniversary in 1991, every five years brings another double Alligator collection, and 2011 was no exception. While the 35th edition –released in 2006 – logically featured 35 songs, the compilers couldn't quite squeeze 40 onto this 40th anniversary disc, even though owner Bruce Iglauer does admit to fading a few endings off prematurely in order to maximize the list, which hits 38 selections. The trick with these albums is to both pay tribute to the label's storied past while including enough recent acts to connect the dots between the house-rocking music Iglauer built his company on, and the more modern yet still roots-based sounds he's released during the last five years. He does an excellent job here, mixing not just old and new, but male and female musicians who have recorded for Alligator over the decades.
Little Milton may not have been the greatest R&B artist or the greatest blues artist or the greatest soul artist of all time, but he and Bobby Bland were easily the two best ever at incorporating all three genres into all their work for many decades. "Grits Ain't Groceries" is sheer late-'60s R&B greatness - an exciting, rollicking remake of the Titus Turner tune that turned out to be Little Willie John's début hit [#5 R&B] in 1955 (then titled "All Around the World"). Little Milton scored a #13 soul / # 73 pop hit with it. I thought its passionately powerful and smoldering Chicago blues B-side "I Can't Quit You Baby" (co-written by Milton, and with that dazzling guitar I mentioned) made it an unbeatable combination, worthy of of #1 - at least on the soul charts…
Although it's missing one or two fairly strong tracks, this three-CD, 84-song set is a pretty definitive collection of the group's best '60s material for those who want to go beyond the greatest hits. Besides including all of their key A- and B-sides, it has an entire disc of their best '60s album tracks. The rarities disc includes foreign-language versions, outtakes, mid-'60s BBC performances, and solo discs by Tony Jackson and Chris Curtis. Highlights here include an alternate take of "Someday We're Gonna Love Again," a BBC version of "Blowin' in the Wind," and the previously unreleased "Once Upon a Time" (recorded by Dusty Springfield). The package includes liner notes, discography, and a family tree.
When blues fans Jerry Del Giudice and Edward Chmelewski started the Blind Pig label as an outgrowth of the live venue of the same name in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1977, there was no way they could have known the home they were creating for blues and Americana music would have over the next four decades. The number of legends who have recorded for the label is staggering, and their fi nest moments are collected on the brand new Blind Pig Records 40th Anniversary CollectioN. With 34 classic tracks on 2 CDs, the collection spans 40 years of blues history.