Essential Blues Volume 3

Various Artists
Essential Blues 3

(House of Blues)

First Appeared at The Music Box, October 1999, Volume 6, #10

Written by John Metzger


A title as bold as Essential Blues seems apt to draw some controversy. After all, who decides what is essential and what isn’t? Fueling the fire are the contractual restrictions that seem to come into play. Certainly, this can be the only explanation for the House of Blues to exclude anything by Robert Johnson from the three volumes, six discs, and 92 songs that now make up this series. Nevertheless, the label has done an admirable job with this on-going series.

Essential Blues 3 begins with the final recording made by the late, great Luther Allison. His take on the Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want is nothing short of pure magic. This set also shares the spotlight with a pair of younger bluesmen — Corey Harris and Alvin Youngblood Hart. Both artists turn in acoustic selections that allow their finger-picking styles to sparkle.

In addition, there are plenty of classic blues nuggets contained on Essential Blues 3 — far too many to list. Some of the highlights include Jimmy Rogers grooving his way through Chicago Bound; T-Bone Walker’s smoke-filled bar standard Call It Stormy Monday; Lightnin’ Hopkins’ haunting Katie Mae; Bobby "Blue" Bland’s smooth, soulful vocals effortlessly soaring on Farther Up the Road; and Little Milton’s joyous number one hit We’re Gonna Make It. There’s no question that with a heritage that is as long and fruitful as this genre, the Essential Blues series surely has quite a bit of life left in it. starstarstarstar

Essential Blues 3 is part of a box set, titled
Essential Shoebox Full of Blues. This package is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!



1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 1999 The Music Box