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Modern Blues


The Best Of Taj Mahal

The Best Of Taj Mahal Lowest new price: $4.99
Lowest used price: $2.05
Model: 2012468

includes live tracks

Taj Mahal's been chasing the blues around the world for years, but rarely with the passion, energy, and clarity he brought to his first three albums. Taj Mahal, The Natch'l Blues and The Real Thing are the sound of the artist, who was born in 1942, defining himself and his music. On his self-titled 1967 debut, he not only honors the sound of the Delta masters with his driving National steel guitar and hard vocal shout, but ladles in elements of rock and country with the help of guitarists Ry Cooder and the late Jessie Ed Davis. This approach is reinforced and broadened by The Natch'l Blues. What's most striking is Mahal's way of making even the oldest themes sound as if they're part of a new era. Not just through the vigor of his playing--relentlessly propulsive, yet stripped down compared with the six-string ornamentations of the original masters of country blues--but through his singing, which possesses a knowing insouciance distinct to post-Woodstock counterculture hipsters. It's the voice of an informed young man who knows he's offering something deep to an equally hip and receptive audience.

Soon, Mahal turned his multicultural vision of the blues even further outward. The live 1971 set, The Real Thing, finds him still carrying the Mississippi torch, while adding overt elements of jazz and Afro-Caribbean music to its flame. But it's overreaching. His band sounds under-rehearsed, and the arrangements seem more like rough outlines. Nonetheless, these albums set the stage for Mahal's career. (For a condensed version, try the fine The Best of Taj Mahal.) Today, he continues to make fine fusion albums, like 1999's Kulanjan, with Malian kora master Toumani Diabate, and less exciting but still eclectic recordings with his Phantom Blues Band. --Ted Drozdowski

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The Funk Anthology [2 CD]

The Funk Anthology [2 CD] Lowest new price: $14.97
Lowest used price: $8.13
Model: 2190990

His blues chops made fans out of Lightnin' Hopkins and Jimi Hendrix, but it's his awesome funk records that have had hip-hoppers reaching for their samplers again and again. Here's the first proper collection of Johnny's '70s and '80s funk tracks, many long out of print: Superman Lover; Ain't That a Bitch; I Need It; Tarzan; Funk Beyond the Call of Duty; Strung Out; Booty Ooty; Love Jones , and 23 more including six unissued cuts!

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Me and Mr. Johnson

Me and Mr. Johnson Lowest new price: $4.99
Lowest used price: $1.21
Brand: Clapton,Eric
Model: 2031465

On Me And Mr.Johnson, Eric Clapton covers 14 of the 29 songs Robert Johnson, the most mythic figure of the blues, wrote and recorded in his lifetime. For fans of deep blues,it doesn 't get any better than this. After the success of Clapton 's first two traditional blues albums 1994 's Gram- my-winning triple-platinum, #1 pop From The Cradle, and 2000 's Grammy-winning, double-platinum,#3-charting Riding With The King collaboration with B.B.King Me And Mr.Johnson finds Clapton once more at the crossroads of blues and rock.

It's impossible to overemphasize the importance of singer-guitarist-songwriter Robert Johnson's contribution to blues music. The same can be said of Eric Clapton, one of Mr. Johnson's most dedicated interpreters. From his work with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers to Cream and beyond, Clapton has arguably attracted more widespread attention to Johnson's music than any other living musician. A decade after his all-blues From the Cradle (which included no Johnson material), Clapton jumps into the icon's catalog with both feet by covering 14 Johnson tunes. With a stripped-down veteran band that includes such longtime associates as drummer Steve Gadd, keyboardist Billy Preston, and harmonica ace Jerry Portnoy, the guitarist attacks these songs with passion, intelligence, and a refreshing lack of blues-rock pretense. From the upbeat jump of "32-20 Blues" and "They're Red Hot" to the slower, grinding "Little Queen of Spades" and "Milkcow's Calf Blues," Clapton acquits himself well, eschewing his slicker inclinations with arrangements that underscore Johnson's rawest tendencies--although perhaps he doesn't seem sufficiently terrified when walking with Lucifer on "Me and the Devil Blues." Still, this is a successful and admirable return to his roots, one that will hopefully introduce an even larger audience to Johnson's seminal work. --Hal Horowitz

Features:

  • CLAPTON ERIC ME AND MR.JOHNSON

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Too Bad Jim [Vinyl]

Too Bad Jim [Vinyl] Lowest new price: $12.54
Lowest used price: $17.63
Brand: VINYL

Too Bad Jim is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, Bad Luck City. It features R.L. Burnside fronting a small juke joint combo, tearing through some greasy blues. However, Too Bad Jim is the better album, simply from a performance standpoint. Burnside sounds more relaxed and the band steps back from the spotlight slightly, letting the guitarist burn brightly on his own, showcasing his deep blues roots. AMG

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Let's Hide Away & Dance Away

Let's Hide Away & Dance Away Lowest new price: $6.29
Lowest used price: $5.99

NEW Combo BLUWAVS CD and FLAC FILE

Features:

  • This is the original collectable long box edition

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Delaney & Bonnie On Tour With Eric Clapton

Delaney & Bonnie On Tour With Eric Clapton Lowest new price: $4.78
Lowest used price: $3.16

Out-of-print in the US! On Tour with Eric Clapton is the third album by Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, and their first on the Atco/Atlantic label (catalog no. SD 33-326). Released in June 1970, this album features Delaney and Bonnie's best-known touring band, including Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, and George Harrison (under his pseudonym "L'Angelo Misterioso"). Many of the players on this album would later go on to work with Clapton on his solo debut and on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, and with Harrison on his vocal debut album All Things Must Pass. The album's cover photo, taken by Delaney and Bonnie's manager Barry Feinstein, was reportedly shot in 1966 while Feinstein worked as a photographer covering Bob Dylan's British tour. Dylan's feet are alleged to be those hanging from the car window.

Features:

  • Delaney & Bonnie On Tour With Eric Clapton by Atco

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Cadillac in the Swamp

Cadillac in the Swamp Lowest new price: $13.99
Lowest used price: $7.99

Cadillac in the Swamp by Smokehouse

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.

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Just Won't Burn

Just Won't Burn Lowest new price: $22.97
Lowest used price: $2.26

A Boston native now living in Atlanta, Sue Tedeschi gets wildly overpraised by some purported blues pundits and gratuitously slammed by others. The truth lies somewhere in between. She's an earnest but undistinguished singer and a functional songwriter-guitarist whose music provides mild entertainment. On an album that veers between blues-slanted material (try "Friar's Point") and bluesy pop-rock (take your pick), she carries on with élan but none of the finesse or emotional clarity of a big-league singer like Joan Osborne or Bonnie Raitt. Tedeschi's cover of John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery," alas, is her blatant imitation of the famous redhead but it is light years away from Raitt's persuasive capacity for interpreting lyrics. The most alluring track is "Can't Leave You Alone," written by Tedeschi band member Adrienne Hayes, who unleashes a stirring little guitar solo therein. --Frank-John Hadley

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Long Time Coming

Long Time Coming Lowest new price: $3.95
Lowest used price: $0.99
Brand: CD
Model: 2072200

JONNY LANG - LONG TIME COMING (BONUS TRACK) - CD

"Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, never thought it’d take so long," moans Jonny Lang on the seemingly autobiographical title track to his first release in five years. But its stark acoustic, near demo quality is in contrast to the preceding 12 songs, which are buffed to an arena-rock sheen. The youngster has shifted from an up-and-coming bluesman into a tough, journeyman melodic rocker with a dab of R&B. He has also honed his songwriting skills, resulting in the majority of this album (except a rugged bonus live cover of Stevie Wonder’s "Livin’ for the City" and the first single "Red Light") being self-penned. Aiming for the back rows, Long Time Coming boasts booming, sing-along mid-tempo choruses in "Save Yourself" and "Goodbye Letter," perfect for the lighter-waving crowd. He has also transformed into a soulman of sorts, evidenced by the Prince/ Michael McDonald influences on "Touch," "Beautiful One," "The One I Got," and the funky "If We Try." Once a burgeoning guitar hero, Lang’s solos are now integrated into the material, further bolstering the hard rock/soul approach. Leaving the blues, Lang has moved towards the mainstream on his most polished and radio-ready album yet. --Hal Horowitz

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The Chess Box [2 CD Box Set]

The Chess Box [2 CD Box Set] Lowest new price: $20.83
Lowest used price: $12.98
Brand: Dixon, Willie
Model: 2016910

Fittingly enough for a set profiling the songwriter in Chicago blues, this not only features Willie performing some of his best-known tunes, but also has the performances by the artists-Bo Diddley ( Pretty Thing ); Muddy Waters ( Hoochie Coochie Man ) and Howlin' Wolf ( Spoonful )-that make them famous! 36 songs, 8 unavailable in the U.S., with booklet.

Best known for his work as a songwriter, producer, and talent scout, singer-bassist Willie Dixon essentially built Chicago's Cobra and Chess labels with his sweat. Although this double-disc set does include five performances by the man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, himself, it's really a testament to his songwriting prowess, packed with recordings that made his tunes classics of blues and early rock & roll. There's Howlin' Wolf tearing through "Spoonful," "Little Red Rooster," "Evil," and "Back Door Man." There's Muddy Waters belting "You Shook Me," "Hoochie Coochie Man," and "I'm Ready." There's Bo Diddley delivering "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" and Koko Taylor launching her career with "Wang Dang Doodle." The set features excellent liner notes, and its only disappointment is that its label-centricity excludes Dixon's work for Cobra with then-youngsters Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. --Ted Drozdowski

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