Personnel: Carole King (piano).
Certainly, a single-disc budget-line collection such as MCA Special Products' Best of the Blues can't live up to its title, but those expecting such a disc to be a definitive introduction to such a rich idiom as the blues are simply deluding themselves. Think of the compilation as an affordable sampler of one label's vaults, and you'll be on the right track. And chances are you won't be disappointed, since it contains cuts from B.B. King ("The Thrill Is Gone," "Chains and Things," which features Carole King on piano), Bobby Bland ("Stormy Monday," "Turn on Your Love Light"), John Lee Hooker ("Lonesome Mood"), Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee ("Brownie's New Blues"), T-Bone Walker ("Why My Baby [Keep on Bothering Me]"), Big Joe Turner ("Little Bittie Gal's Blues"), and Memphis Minnie McCoy ("Moanin' the Blues"). They may not be the best cuts or versions the artists ever recorded (although "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Turn on Your Love Light" are indeed originals), but there's nothing particularly bad here, resulting in a listenable and fairly enjoyable budget-priced collection. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine