This 45-song, two-disc collection is subtitled "two decades of killer fretwork", and never was a set so aptly described. Chess Records was the home to seemingly every hot guitar player in the Chicago area, and many of them make their appearance here. Besides the usual label guitar hotshots (Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Lowell Fulson, Earl Hooker, Otis Rush, Robert Nighthawk, Little Milton), space is given to sideman work from legends like Hubert Sumlin and Robert Jr. Lockwood and great one-offs by lesser-known artists like Jody Williams, Danny Overbea, Eddie Burns, Joe Hill Louis, Morris Pejoe, Lafayette Thomas and others. It seems as if everyone recorded for Chess at one time or another, also explaining the inclusion of tracks by John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lonnie Brooks, Hound Dog Taylor and Elmore James. If electric blues guitar's your thing, then look no further than this fine two-disc compilation.
Although not released until 1995, this CD was recorded live in 1993 in Bremen, Germany. Live in Europe is Earl's tribute to his major influences, and Ronnie plays his favorite guitar throughout: a 1962 red Strat. The fast, driving "San-Ho-Zay" and "Blues for the West Side" go out to Magic Sam; "The Stumble" to Freddie King; "Thank You Mr. T-Bone" to T-Bone Walker and Duke Robillard (who inspired Earl to learn T-Bone). "Thank You Mr. T-Bone" features some cool call-and-response between Earl and Bruce Katz on the Hammond B-3. It segues nicely into "Akos," where you'll find more great B-3 (check out the improvised "Summertime" riff). An all-instrumental offering, Live in Europe includes a handful of tunes found on its predecessor, Still River, including "Szeren," "Rego Park Blues," and the aforementioned "Blues for the West Side." "Contrition," a slow, soulful tune penned by Katz, has some jaw-dropping runs by Earl. One can only imagine what it must have been like to be one of the lucky souls at this show. The only fault to be found on this album is the mislabeling of several tunes on the cover. (For example, "The Stumble" is listed as "Not Now Kovitch.") Still, it's this reviewer's all-time favorite album – thank you, Mr. Earl.
Delta blues is one of the earliest styles of blues music. Created by black musicians who lived and worked on the farms in north Mississippi, these men and women drew on influences from church songs, prison songs, African rhythms, and early American folk traditions to fashion a new form of music. Unbeknownst to them, the music created in this relatively small area that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers would spread the world over and shape musical history.
With 9 chapters that range from simple shuffles to more advanced jazz influenced blues with some funky Beale Street soul and a Rumba from the French Quarter in between. Tim puts you behind the wheel and acts as your tour guide on this Blues odyssey. The DVD includes a 25 page PDF with standard notation and tab to clearly map your course. So get out your axe, put on your shades, fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a fantastic Blues Guitar Road Trip!