As blues collections go, this Collectables compilation holds its own quite nicely. And while many of these are not the classic versions, the majority of the sides here are still top-notch. Representing a cross section of labels, the 16 tracks include hit material by Muddy Waters ("Hoochie Coochie Man"), John Lee Hooker ("Boogie Chillen"), and Jimmy Reed ("Bright Lights, Big City" and "Big Boss Man"). And don't fret, these recording were made in the prime blues decades of the '40s, '50s, and '60s -- no worries here about dreary, latter-day remakes by overzealous producers. The quality sides roll on with meaty performances by Lightnin' Hopkins, Elmore James, Champion Jack Dupree, and Sonny Terry, not to mention quality contributions by R&B and jazz greats Thelma Cooper and Jimmy Rushing. A fine accompaniment for your next after-hours blues party. ~ Stephen Cook
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