Blues recordings recommendations?

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Okay guys, I was over at a friends house the other night listening to their ecclectic array of music and several blues tracks came on. I've decided I really want to start a decent foray into the old blues music, but don't know where to start. The blues that I'm familliar with is through the Blues Brothers and George Thorogood, but have found that the little tastes I get of the other blues I get, I like. So, what do you guys recommend as good recordings to get a good start in the blues? What are the "must-have" recordings? Who are good performers to look for?

Thanks for the help!

Muddy Waters - Folk Singer (Haunting acoustic/vocal tracks)

Fleetwood Mac (With Peter Green) - Live at the Boston Tea Party (parts 1 or 2) (Great Rock/Blues)

Stevie Ray Vaughn - Texas Flood, InStep, others...

BBKing - Live at the Regal (good live)

Sonny Boy Wiliamson

Albert King

Good compilation - A Celebration of Blues - Great Acoustic Blues

Lots more...
My favorites are:

Eric Clapton - 'From the Cradle' & 'Unplugged'
BB King
Stevie Ray Vaughn

Someone that doesn't seem to be very well known yet but deserves some recognition is Guy Davis, a guitarist from New York. His more recent recordings seem to have improved in quality. They have a very good 'presence' in the listening environment. I don't have all of his albums, but that will change.

Johnny Lang's first album is pretty good. He's not quite as talented (yet) as those mentioned above but still very enjoyable.



John Lee Hooker! He has hundreds of albums, head over to your record store.. Be sure to buy one with an old <70s version of Hobo Blues on it. It's just him, his guitar, and a block wood on many recordings.

Also more modern blues I would have to recommend Mighty Sam McClain. Get Give it up to love or the greatest hits, the latest Blues for the Soul is mediorce at best.

-- Aaron
Thanks for the suggestions! Now I just have to convince the wife that I need to buy some new CDs! Your suggestions also reminded me of the other groups I listen to and enjoy! (Clapton, ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn and BBKing) Actually the BB King recommendation reminds me of a story. A friend of mine got some free passes to one of the Blues Fest tours and asked me if I liked to go. I said sure, who's playing? He responded some guy named BB King, ever heard of him? I was floored!! How could you NOT have heard of BB King? Needless to say it was a cool show!

Variac: Thanks for the clue on Elmore James, I'll have to check him out!

Its interesting, when I posted the question, I was expecting a lot of recommendations along the lines of Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, and BB King, but you guys pointed out modern acts with blues backgrounds that I hadn't thought about!

How about some recommendations for old Chicago or Delta blues now? (I know, I know, I'm being picky...)

Again, thanks for the suggestions!!
Blues & Blues

blues :
Living chicago blues(harmonica,guitar), some blues at Jazz at the pawnshop live show, on the recording reproduce the sound of the audience

rock blues:
many kind live and studio recording of "Led Zeppelin" (i can't quit; you sook me; tea for two )

this is blues too:
eric clapton, eric johnson, gary moore(parisian walkways)
and the recording of three guitarist (G3) [eric johnson, stevie vai, joe satriani)

prisoner of the blues
Blind Willie Johnson!

I listen a fair amount to old (1930s and earlier) country and blues recordings. If I had to recommend one artist for you guys to explore, it's Blind Willie Johnson. Basically a streetcorner performer in Texas, he recorded enough sides to fill out two CDs. Capable of transforming his voice into a snarling -- but ecstatic -- growl, he rips your heart out and makes you feel thrilled that he's doing it. The complete recordings are available on Columbia. Individual CDs are also available.

Sorry, one more, I can't resist. Richard "Rabbit" Brown was apparently a street artist from New Orleans who made about six sides in the late 20's and disappeared. His finest song is a piece called "James Alley Blues", which transfixes me every time I hear it. David Johansen and the Harry Smiths covered the song, but they don't come even close. The original can be found on Volume II of a fine anthology, "Times Ain't Like They Used To Be", and it's on the Harry Smith Smithsonian collection as well I believe. Complete recordings are available on a Document CD with the works of Mississippi John Hurt and another artist.
You could do a lot worse than these two Australian icons - I have known these guys for years and worked plenty of their shows - these guys have been doing it for 30 years and are relaxed about it and put on a top show every time - always a delight to my ear. - 'CHAIN The First 30 Years' is an Aussie must have. - 'TAKE NOTE' and 'TOWARD THE BLUES' cds are excellent.

"Phil has toured As Opening Act With: Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, George Thorogood, Canned Heat, Roy Buchanan, Albert Collins,Alexis Korner, Duster Bennett, Hound Dog Taylor and The Houserockers."

Do yourself a big favour and check these out.
Regards, Eric. :)
For a truly fine, deep-blue sax solo, get a copy of Eric Burdon Declares War. Listen to track 9 -"Mr. Charlie" if I recall correctly (part of "Mother Earth"). You can hear the sax player's tonsils flapping against the reed! They must have used a Telefunken U49...!

Don't miss the Jimi Hendrix: Blues disc.

Buddy Guy's "Sweet Tea" is a good modern blues disc.
Buddy Guy and Junior Wells' "Drinkin' TNT and Smokin' Dynamite" is one of the greats by two of the greats.

Give a listen to Robert Johnson as well.

Tom Waits has done some truly fine blues- try "$29" (which ends with the line " lucky to be alive, the doctor whispered to the nurse, she only lost half a pint of blood, $29, and an alligator purse"). "Murder in the Red Barn", "Blue Valentines", "Get Behind the Mule", "Burma Shave" - a fine solo piano blues piece, "Small Change" and many others...

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