Delmark Records…Sixty Years Of Blues review…December 14, 2013…

VARIOUS ARTISTS

DELMARK RECORDS

SIXTY YEARS OF BLUES

DE  917

WHEN THEY PLAYED THE REAL BLUES–STUDEBAKER JOHN AND THE MAXWELL STREET KINGS  ROCK ME BABY–JUNIOR WELLS  RAFFLE TICKET–LINSEY ALEXANDER  I DON’T WANT NO WOMAN–MAGIC SAM  FIFTY FIFTY–QUINTUS MCCORMICK  JUST KEEP ON LOVIN’ HER–LITTLE WALTER TRIO  OH, MADEMOISELLE–GILES COREY’S STONED SOUL  BIG WORLD–EDDIE C. CAMPBELL  44 BLUES–BIG JOE WILLIAMS  BLUES TRAIN–SHARON LEWIS AND TEXAS FIRE  SHE’S A GOOD ‘UN–LURRIE BELL  LET’S LIVE IT UP–MISSISSIPPI HEAT  KEY TO THE HIGHWAY–DETROIT JR.  TEND TO YOUR BUSINESS–TAIL DRAGGER  STOP THAT THING–SLEEPY JOHN ESTES  JOHN THE CONQUER ROOT–TORONZO CANNON

When he founded Delmark Records back in 1953, it’s probably a safe bet that Bob Koester had no idea that he’d be responsible for bringing to music fans all over the world some of the most powerful and vital artists and albums in the history of contemporary blues.

There is such a plethora of great material to choose from, it was likely a difficult choice to pick one CD’s worth, but the fine folks at Delmark have done just that, with the sixteen cuts that comprise “Delmark–Sixty Years Of Blues.”  On this set, there is something for every blues fan, and it covers the scope of this flourishing label, with cuts from the early years, up thru the label’s current roster.

Want some great harp?  Look no further than Lurrie Bell on “She’s A Good ‘Un,” Pierre Lacocque with Mississippi Heat on “Let’s Live It Up,” and Billy Branch backing Tail Dragger on “Tend To Your Business.”  Guitar fans will love Eddie C. Campbell’s humorous “Big World,” as well as the swamp-funk guitar of newcomer Giles Corey’s Stoned Soul with “Oh, Mademoiselle.”  Toronzo Cannon closes the set with the fuzz-toned, Hendrixian voodoo of “John The Conquer Root.”

The unreleased tracks (of which we wish there had been more) served as our favorites.  Junior Wells’ “Rock Me Baby” is new to CD from the “Southside Blues Jam” sessions.  A tape from a private collector yielded Big Joe Williams’ powerful delivery on “44 Blues,” while the Little Walter Trio has Muddy himself on guitar on “Keep On Lovin’Her.”  Detroit Jr’s piano and vocal are strong on “Key To The Highway,” and, perhaps the most intriguing of the unreleased  cuts is from a forthcoming Sleepy John Estes’ “Live In Japan” album, and has John on guitar and Hammie Nixon on harp and jug (!) on a rousing “Stop That Thing!”

As Delmark turns sixty, it remains one of the most viable labels in contemporary blues.  Mr. Koester, we tip our collective hats to you, and wish you many more successful years!  Until next time…..Sheryl and Don Crow.

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