The Alligator Records 45TH Anniversary Collection review…December 22, 2016…

VARIOUS ARTISTS

ALLIGATOR RECORDS 45TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION

ALLIGATOR RECORDS

CD 1:  HOLD THAT TRAIN–COTTON PICKING BLUES–DEVIL’S HAND–CAN’T EVEN DO WRONG RIGHT–BAD CONTRACT–THE WELL–THE TATTOOED LADY AND THE ALLIGATOR MAN–COMMON GROUND–THE ROAD IS SO LONG–VOODOO WOMAN–DON’T CALL NO AMBULANCE–CALLIN’ ALL FOOLS–TOO DRUNK TO DRIVE DRUNK–CRAZY WHEN SHE DRINKS–TAKE ME WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO–YOUR TURN TO CRY–GIVIN’ IT UP FOR YOUR LOVE–TAKE FIVE–LET IT GO–WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN

CD 2:  COTTON MOUTH MAN–IF TROUBLE WAS MONEY–99 SHADES OF CRAZY–I REFUSE TO LOSE–EMPTY PROMISES–TURN IT ON, TURN IT UP–RAINING IN MY HEART–SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER–WALK A MILE IN MY BLUES–STUMBLIN’–I AIN’T GOT YOU–GONNA STOP YOU FROM GIVING ME THE BLUES–FREEZER BURN–I’M GONNA LEAVE YOU–SHE’S FINE–WILL IT EVER CHANGE–AMAZING GRACE

Back in 1971, Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records in Chicago mainly to showcase his favorite band, (Theodore Roosevelt) Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers,  at the time virtual unknowns outside of the South and West sides of Chicago.  He took all the cash he could muster to press 1000 copies of t their debut, and Alligator was born.  Now, 45 years further on up the road, Alligator boasts a library of nearly 300 albums, all created with the idea that “Genuine HouseRockin’ Music” was to be the order of the day!  As such, the 45th Anniversary Collection boasts 37 cuts over two CD’s that trace the beginnings of the label up thru the most recent releases.

Folks, this is an unbelievable set.  Many artists were well-known when they joined the label, such as Johnny Winter, represented here by a blazin’ “Shake Your Moneymaker,” and Elvin Bishop with the humorous “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right.”  There are several cuts that showcase the “homegrown” aspect of the label, thru artists that were cultivated by the label.  There’s the aforementioned Houserockers with “Take Five,” Frank “Son” Seals with “Cotton Picking Blues,” and one of our favorites, Li’l Ed (Williams) And The Blues Imperials with “Hold That Train.”  And, Alligator is always on the hunt for new blood to carry the Chicago traditions forward.  As such, we are treated to fine blues from Toronzo Cannon, signin’ that “Bad Contract” when he got hitched, the “endless boogie” of Selwyn Birchwood and “Don’t Call No Ambulance,” and Jarekus Singleton and “I Refuse To Lose.”

We were overjoyed when we were offered the opportunity to review this album.  We would like to humbly thank Mr. Bruce Iglauer, Marc Lipkin, and everyone associated with Alligator Records for their contributions, not only to this forum, but to the world-wide blues community as a whole.  As for the 45th Anniversary Collection, here’s to 45 more!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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