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Delta Blues


Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith)

Anthology of American Folk Music (Edited by Harry Smith) Lowest new price: $45.77
Lowest used price: $62.96
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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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Keb' Mo'

Keb' Mo' Lowest new price: $5.73
Lowest used price: $1.55
Brand: OKeh/550/Epic
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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Genuine Houserockin Christmas

Genuine Houserockin Christmas Lowest new price: $9.99
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Brand: Unknown
Model: 2569203

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Raising Sand [Vinyl]

Raising Sand [Vinyl] Lowest new price: $22.76
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Brand: Rounder
Model: 28928203

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

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The Original Delta Blues (Mojo Working': Blues For The Next Generation)

The Original Delta Blues (Mojo Working': Blues For The Next Generation) Lowest new price: $3.72
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Brand: Sony BMG Special Markets
Model: 3865123

This album-a 1998 Rolling Stone Top 25 all-time blues title-features the guitar and vocal style that helped define Delta blues, generations before it moved north to Chicago. Includes Death Letter; Preachin' Blues; Levee Camp Moan; Downhearted Blues , and more of the most influential blues recordings ever made.

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King Of The Delta Blues Singers

King Of The Delta Blues Singers Lowest new price: $5.73
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Brand: JOHNSON,ROBERT
Model: 2012443

Blues lovers everywhere knew the legend of Robert Johnson, but only one complete Robert Johnson song was commercially available until this 1961 album came out. The most anticipated blues album of all time also became the most influential as future rock stars devoured it. Along with Crossroads Blues; Rambling on My Mind , and all the other classics, this reissue contains a newly discovered, previously unissued alternate version of Traveling Riverside Blues ! 17 tracks.

If there is a recording that is required listening for every blues fan, it's this one. Robert Johnson wasn't just King of the Delta blues; he was one of its founding fathers, and these re-mastered tunes are as timeless and important today as they were all those years ago. The songs that passed into the blues canon, to be covered by countless guitarists over the years, are here: "Crossroad Blues," "Preaching Blues," "Come On In My Kitchen," "Walking Blues," and more. And on this particular version of this often-reissued recording, there's an additional treat: a previously unreleased version of "Traveling Riverside Blues." Absolutely essential. --Genevieve Williams

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Blue Yule / Various

Blue Yule / Various Lowest new price: $7.98
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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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Martin Scorsese presents The Blues - A Musical Journey

Martin Scorsese presents The Blues - A Musical Journey Lowest new price: $79.99
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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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Folk Singer

Folk Singer Lowest new price: $4.95
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Brand: Chess
Model: 1972382

Muddy returned to his acoustic roots on this 1964 LP, expanded with five bonus tracks from Muddy's next two Chess sessions!

Muddy Waters started out playing acoustic blues in the Delta, and it shows on this return to his roots, designed to appeal to the mid-1960s surge of interest in folk music. The back of the CD includes a photo of Waters with bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon, as well as a very young Buddy Guy, gathered around a single microphone. This particular CD reissue includes five bonus tracks, among which are "The Same Thing" and "Short Dress Woman," which take advantage of the longer CD running time. All of the other reasons to hear this one remain--Waters's strong, confident voice, the relaxed smoothness of the material, and the surprisingly clean recording, made even cleaner by the digital remastering. --Genevieve Williams

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Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues Lowest new price: $14.99
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