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Various Artists

A Double Dose of the Blues

Review by Gary Hill

This new double disc set features two different compilation albums. The first is a tribute to John Lee Hooker and the second is a sampling of British blues guys. There are a lot of great performances here. The list of musicians reads like a “who’s who” from Jack Bruce, Gary Moore, Jeff Beck, Mick Taylor, Peter Green and more to The Pretty Things, Gary Brooker, Andy Fairweather-Low and yet more. There are two bonus tracks on the second set. I’ve previously reviewed those two songs on their original albums. For the sake of consistency, those track reviews are modified from the original reviews.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1

                              
From Clarksdale To Heaven - Remembering John Lee Hooker
                   
Zakiya Hooker, Johnnie Johnson & Bobby Murray - I Want To Hug You

This blues rocker is classy stuff. It has some great piano soloing and smoking guitar work, too.

Jack Bruce & Gary Moore – I’m In the Mood
Featuring two late, great musicians, this slow blues number is a real killer. I love the guitar. I love the vocal work. I love the whole arrangement. This is such a great tune, really. Some of the guitar soloing on this thing is purely on fire.
LLC (Leo Lyons, Ric Lee & Vince Converse) – I’m Bad Like Jesse James
This is mostly spoken. It’s also a classy blues tune. Although this is reasonably effective, it’s not a standout and seems to overstay its welcome a bit.
Jeff Beck - Will the Circle Be Unbroken
I love the guitar sound on this. Then again, since it’s Jeff Beck, that’s kind of given. This a gospel tune with both male and female vocals. It rocks pretty well.
Gary Brooker & Andy Fairweather-Low - Baby Lee
This is classy and quite traditional electric blues. It’s one of my favorites here. It just really rocks. I love everything about it.
T.S. McPhee & Dick Heckstall-Smith - Ground Hog Blues
Here we get a jam that is very much old school blues in texture. That said, there is a bit of British edge to it. The saxophone lends something different, too. The arrangement is just acoustic guitar, sax and voice. This doesn’t work all that well for me, really.
Mick Taylor & Max Middleton - This Is Hip
A killer rocking blues tune, this is a lot of fun. It has some great guitar work throughout. It’s almost a pop rock number in some ways, but with plenty of traditional blues built into it.
Peter Green Splinter Group - Crawlin King Snake
This is a killer acoustic blues number. It’s packed with style and charm.  I really love the slide guitar on this thing.
Clem Clempson, Dick Heckstall-Smith & T.S. McPhee – I’m Leaving
High energy rocking blues, I love what the saxophone brings to the table here. This is just so much fun. It’s one of my favorites of the whole set. The mid-track jam is really inspiring and powerful.
Gary Brooker & Andy Fairweather-Low - Little Wheel
A smoking hot traditional electric blues jam, the guitar steals the show here. That said, given the strength of the rest of it, that’s a really strong testament to how screaming hot that guitar playing is.
Gregg’s Eggs - The Business
Jazz and soul merge on this energetic tune. Yes, there is a little blues, but overall this really is a completely different kind of flavor. The female vocals are quite strong.
Jeff Beck - Hobo Blues
This time around we just get the male vocals when Beck’s guitar drives this scorching hot blues number
Gary Moore & Jack Bruce - It Serves You Right To Suffer
While Bruce sang the previous tune from these two guys, Gary Moore handles the lead vocals here. This is a slow blues tune that’s just so cool.
John Lee Hooker, Booker T. Jones & Randy California - Red House
A traditional electric blues jam, this is great stuff.
Disc 2
              
Knights Of The Blues Table
                  
Jack Bruce & Clem Clempson - Send For Me

Mix the vocals of Cream with a traditional old school blues tune. This is killer stuff. It’s actually one of my favorite pieces here. I love the walking bass line, but then again, it’s Jack freaking Bruce. The harmonica is a nice touch, too. As screaming hot as the guitar is, it still manages to take a back seat to the rest of the magic here.

Georgie Fame - If You Live (Your Time Will Come)

I love the organ on this thing. The song is packed with retro goodness. It’s set in more of cool soulful style. It’s great stuff, however you slice it, but it might go on just a bit too long for me.

Duffy Power - Go Down, Sunshine
Old school blues, this has some great saxophone soloing over the top of some acoustic guitar. This is very much from the down home variety of the blues.
Chris Jagger feat. Mick Jagger – Racketeer’s Blues
This old school blues number is very cool. Yes, it features Mick Jagger, but on harmonica, not vocals. He wails throughout, while his brother sings the tune.
Pete Brown, Phil Ryan & Dick Heckstall-Smith - Rocks In My Bed
This is higher energy, electrified blues. It’s another strong tune.
Miller Anderson - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
I’ve always loved this song, but, like most, the version I have heard the most is the one by The Animals. This is more of an acoustic guitar based modern rock take on the tune. It’s definitely different than that one, but it’s also incredibly strong. It gets some electric guitar in the mix late in the piece. This is definitely one of my favorites among everything on the two discs.
Maggie Bell & Big Jim Sullivan - Blind Man
Another old school acoustic blues tune, this is strong. I love the vocals (Bell) on this number.
Peter Green & Nigel Watson - Traveling Riverside Blues
Here’s another killer acoustic guitar based blues cut. I love the intricate guitar. This version is much more traditional than the Zeppelin version of the tune.
T.S. McPhee - Drop Down Mama
Here we get another acoustic blues tune. This is pretty fast paced and features some great slide guitar.
Jack Bruce & Clem Clempson - I've Got News For You
I love the harmonica on this tune. The whole piece really works extremely well, though. This is another highlight as far as I’m concerned. The guitar solo is really on fire.
Nine Below Zero - Nine Below Zero
This tune is screaming hot. It’s a bit on the noisy side, but it’s also very traditional in a lot of ways. It seems like a more traditional take on a combination of Canned Heat and Led Zeppelin. It’s a really hot tune.
The Pretty Things - Judgment Day
Speaking of Canned Heat, there is definitely an edge like that, but with a lot more hard rocking sound in the mix.
Paul Jones & Otis Grand - Play On Little Girl / T-Bone Shuffle
This is definitely more of an old school blues sound. It’s a bit like B.B. King in terms of arrangement.
Mick Clarke & Lou Martin - One More Mile To Go
More old school blues, this has some prominent piano. The guitar is classic, too.
Max Middleton & Mick Taylor - You Shook Me
This older styled cut has some retro organ sound and scorching guitar. This is another song that Led Zeppelin made famous in a different form. The piano solo section on this rendition actually leans toward progressive rock.
Bonus Tracks
                  
Tom Killner - Midnight Call

The closer from Killner’s Hard Road album, this is a powered up blues rocker.

Eli Cook - Sweet Thang feat. Tinsley Ellis
I love the fuzz guitar sound as this one begins. The distorted groove that makes up the song proper makes me think of Lenny Kravitz. The hooks on this are great.
 
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