It’s been 45 years since Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers entered a Chicago recording studio to cut the album that would change the face of American music forever. That self-titled release came out in August 1971 and launched an American institution, Alligator Records. Label boss Bruce Iglauer ran the operation from an efficiency apartment in the Windy City. In the subsequent decades, his imprint would issue roughly 300 titles, including releases from Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Luther Allison, and Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials, among many, many others. When quality blues records were hard to come by and majors turned their attention to the latest fashions, Iglauer stuck it out, giving a loyal fan base music they didn’t know they were missing. To see the Alligator logo on an album’s spine meant you were getting something handpicked from a friend who loved that music as much as you did. Maybe even more.
This is a specially priced, two-CDs-for-the-price-of-one photo-cube set, loaded with great stuff from Charlie Musselwhite, Koko Taylor, Lonnie Brooks, Johnny Winter, Billy Boy Arnold, Lonnie Mack, and a host of others who have trotted their wares on the label over the years. Besides giving the novice one great introduction to the label (as the music runs from traditional to modern), the big bonus here is a treasure trove of previously unissued tracks from Roy Buchanan (a chaotic version of Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper"); Floyd Dixon (a recut of his Blues Brothers-approved hit "Hey Bartender"); Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland in a marvelous outtake from the Showdown! album ("Something to Remember You By"); and the band that started it all, Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers, with a crazed version of Elmore James' "Look on Yonder's Wall," as sloppy as it is cool. Very good stuff.
Double CD release celebrating the 40th anniversary of the world’s premier blues label. 38 songs - over 157 minutes of music. Complete 32 page booklet contains biographical information and photos of all artists featured on the compilation.