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Delta Blues


Raising Sand [Vinyl]

Raising Sand [Vinyl] Lowest new price: $20.59
Lowest used price: $28.11
Brand: Rounder
Model: 28928203

Double vinyl edition of their classic album which was released in October 2007.

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Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith)

Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith) Lowest new price: $69.63
Lowest used price: $64.99
Brand: Unknown

Over 50 years after its original 1952 vinyl release, this is still the best American roots music collection around! Musicologist Harry Smith assembled the anthology from 78 rpm discs issued between 1927 and 1935. This 6-CD reissue was painstakingly researched, annotated and packaged to perfection. With 84 rare tracks, this one is a library all by itself! Includes Drunkard's Special Coley Jones; Peg and Awl Carolina Tar Heels; Frankie Mississippi John Hurt; Engine 143 Carter Family; Indian War Whoop Hoyt Ming & His Pep-Steppers; Newport Blues Cincinnati Jug Band; John the Revelator Blind Willie Johnson; Fifty Miles of Elbow Room Rev. F.W. McGee; Sugar Baby Dock Boggs; See That My Grave Is Kept Clean Blind Lemon Jefferson; The Lone Star Trail Ken Maynard, and many more!

This impressive--and frankly, fun--musical document is still sending out shock waves almost 50 years after its original 1952 vinyl release. The Smithsonian's six-CD reissue is painstakingly researched, annotated, and packaged (even boasting an enhanced disc for the techno-capable). Unlike field recorders, eccentric filmmaker/collector/musicologist Harry Smith assembled the Anthology from commercially released (though obscure) 78 rpm discs issued between 1927 and 1935. Its broad scope--from country blues to Cajun social music to Appalachian murder ballads--was monumentally influential, setting musicians like Bob Dylan down the path to folk fandom. The White House started its own national music library with the Anthology; anyone with more than a passing interest in American roots music should do the same. --Michael Ruby

More from Smithsonian Folkways

The Harry Smith Connection: A Live Tribute To The Anthology Of American Folk Music

Classic Maritime Music from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Smithsonian Folkways American Roots Collection

Classic Mountain Songs from Smithsonian Folkways

Classic Blues From Smithsonian Folkways

Folkways: The Original Vision

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The Best Of Mississippi John Hurt

The Best Of Mississippi John Hurt Lowest new price: $10.83
Lowest used price: $7.87
Brand: CD
Model: 1978443

MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT - BEST OF MISSISSIPPI JOHN HURT - 2 ALBUMS ON 1 CD

This inappropriately titled album is actually a concert recording from a performance at Oberlin College in 1965. Regardless, Hurt's rich, gentle voice and relaxed, flowing guitar lines could soothe the stormiest Monday. Among the hymns and traditional songs heard here are "I Shall Not Be Moved," "Nearer My God to Thee," "Since I've Laid This Burden Down," and "You Are My Sunshine." Complementing those are Hurt folk/blues staples, notably "Monday Morning Blues," "Coffee Blues," and "C.C. Rider." The blues patriarch's warmth and geniality come through here with such emotional intimacy that you can't help being deeply moved. --Genevieve Williams

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King Of The Delta Blues Singers (180 Gram Vinyl)

King Of The Delta Blues Singers (180 Gram Vinyl) Lowest new price: $19.99
Lowest used price: $19.88
Brand: Hi Horse

The classic album of the blues legend.

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Keb' Mo'

Keb' Mo' Lowest new price: $7.21
Lowest used price: $2.02
Brand: Sony
Model: 2011510

NEW Combo BLUWAVS CD and FLAC FILE

Every few years, an acoustic guitar player decides he wants to be the next Robert Johnson and endears himself to the blues world--Rory Block, John Hammond Jr., and Taj Mahal have crossed this road in the past. Veteran backup guitarist Kevin "Keb' Mo'" Moore has the freshest approach to pulling it off, turning Johnson's devil-obsessed classics "Come on in My Kitchen" and "Kindhearted Woman Blues" into friendly folk music on this 1994 debut. Unlike many of the great bluesmen, the personable Moore doesn't aspire to be evil or even rebellious; he writes terrific songs (most notably the opening "Every Morning" and "Dirty Low Down and Bad") and performs them with talent and charisma. --Steve Knopper

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Martin Scorsese presents The Blues - A Musical Journey

Martin Scorsese presents The Blues - A Musical Journey Lowest new price: $79.98
Lowest used price: $49.00
List price: $139.98
Brand: PBS
Model: 2230848

CONTAINS: FEEL LIKE GOING HOME: THE SOULD OF A MAN: THE ROAD TO MEMPHIS: WARNING BY THE DEVIL'S FIRE: GODFATHER'S AND SONS: RED WHITE & BLUES: AND PLANO BLUES.

It may have been underrated when first broadcast on PBS on consecutive nights in the fall of '03, but executive producer Martin Scorsese's homage to the blues is a truly significant, if imperfect, achievement. "Musical journey" is an apt description, as Scorsese and the six other directors responsible for these seven approximately 90-minute films follow the blues--the foundation of jazz, soul, R&B, and rock & roll--from its African roots to its Mississippi Delta origins, up the river to Memphis and Chicago, then to New York, the United Kingdom, and beyond. Some of the films (like Wim Wenders's The Soul of a Man and Charles Burnett's Warming by the Devil's Fire) use extensive fictional film sequences, generally to good effect. There's also plenty of documentary footage, interviews, and contemporary studio performances recorded especially for these films.

The last are among the best aspects of the DVDs, as the bonus material features the set's only complete tunes. Lou Reed's "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" and the ElektriK Mud Kats' (with Chuck D. of Public Enemy) hip-hop-cum-traditional updating of Muddy Waters's "Mannish Boy" are among the best of them; on the other hand, a rendition of "Cry Me a River" by Lulu (?!) is a curious choice, even with Jeff Beck on hand. The absence of lengthier vintage clips, meanwhile, is the principal drawback. For that reason alone, Clint Eastwood's Piano Blues is the best of the lot; a musician himself, Eastwood simply lets the players play, which means we get extensive file footage of the likes of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, and Nat "King" Cole, as well as new performances by Ray Charles, Dr. John, and others. Overall, this is a set to savor, a worthwhile investment guaranteed to grow on you over the course of repeated viewings. --Sam Graham

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The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt

The Complete Studio Recordings Mississippi John Hurt Lowest new price: $19.72
Lowest used price: $8.48
Brand: CD
Model: 1978417

Vanguard captured the beauty and soul of this Delta bluesman to great effect on The Immortal Mississippi John Hurt, Today! and his last studio recording, Last Sessions . Those three LPs are all here, featuring Moaning the Blues; Poor Boy, Long Ways from Home; I'm Satisfied; Keep On Knocking; All Night Long , and more, with detailed notes.

Gentle, graceful, subtle, sweet--these aren't descriptions generally applied to the blues, but they offer a sense of Mississippi John Hurt's uniqueness and enduring legacy. Rediscovered during the 1960s folk boom after last recording in the late 1920s, Hurt cut the three albums compiled here when he was in his early 70s. His conversational phrasing sounds as natural as breathing, while his ragtime-tinged fingerpicking on acoustic guitar reveals more complexity the closer you listen. Beyond blues classics like "Candy Man" (the sly sensualist wasn't referring to lollipops), Hurt's range encompasses everything from folkish narratives ("Talking Casey," "Spike Driver Blues") to Southern spirituals ("Nearer My God to Thee," "Farther Along"). Though Hurt died in 1966, shortly after the last of these sessions, the music still sounds so fresh, you can almost hear the twinkle in his eye. --Don McLeese

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John Lee Hooker: The Ultimate Collection 1948-1990

John Lee Hooker: The Ultimate Collection 1948-1990 Lowest new price: $17.35
Lowest used price: $9.86
Brand: Rhino

Features, of course, Boogie Chillen , plus Crawlin' King Snake; John L's House Rent Boogie; Boom Boom; One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer , and more. 30 tracks.

This 2 CD set represents the best introduction to Hooker's trademark sound: one- and two-chord vamps delivered with a hypnotic, perpetual boogie rhythm and accented by reverberating staccato runs and intense foot-stomping. With his deep, rich voice, Hooker electrified the blues of the Delta, bringing the stark, brooding sound to the city and influencing scores of rock musicians. Most of his highlights are here: from early Modern classics "Boogie Chillen," "Crawlin' King Snake," and "House Rent Boogie"; to Vee-Jay singles "Boom Boom" and "Dimples"; to 1966 Chess work with Chicagoans Lafayette Leake and Willie Dixon; to 1971 collaborations with rockers Canned Heat; to performances with modern blues stars Roy Rogers and Bonnie Raitt. --Marc Greilsamer

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A Meeting by the River

A Meeting by the River Lowest new price: $89.99
Lowest used price: $2.96

A blend of bottleneck guitar and East Indian instruments. The classic recording by Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

Ry Cooder has long had an interest in other people's music, from the blues and gospel of black America through classic jazz and the music of Cuba. Even by this standard, his meeting with Mohan Vishwa Bhatt is certainly a departure. He is neither a serious student of Indian music nor in any way a master of its intricacies. Yet on his improvised session (this album was recorded without rehearsal in one evening), he and Bhatt truly collided musically and created moments worthy of the world-music Grammy they received for it. Bhatt is an iconoclastic character himself. He plays a modified box he calls the mohan vina that is a hybrid of a classical Indian instrument and slide guitar. He is long trained in the arduous classical style, yet his work has always demanded a lot of freedom. His duets here with Cooder are completely unique, liberating both artists from the usual constraints and creating a new musical style that is unlikely to be repeated or imitated. --Louis Gibson

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Blue Yule / Various

Blue Yule / Various Lowest new price: $12.14
Lowest used price: $3.40
Brand: Rhino

Includes Santa Claus Baby Voices; Christmas Blues Canned Heat; Merry Christmas Lightnin' Hopkins; Merry Christmas Baby Charles Brown & Band, and more.

Blue Yule is without question one of the hippest collections of rhythm & blues Christmas music ever assembled. The disc boasts the likes of Louis Jordan, John Lee Hooker, the gospel-powered Pilgrim Travelers, and Johnny and Edgar Winter, as well as the likes of Detroit Junior ("Christmas Day") and Canned Heat ("Christmas Blues"). Lengthy even by contemporary CD standards, this 18-tracker also includes Charles Brown, Big Jack Johnson, Roy Milton, and the inscrutable Lightnin' Hopkins wishing you both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year." But perhaps the set's greatest gift is also it's strangest--Sonny Boy Williamson's "Santa Claus," a rousing midtempo blues-rocker with a biting harp break and weird, funky lyrics about Sonny Boy going through his wife's drawers. --Martin Keller

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