Entertainment

The Number 1 Blues Album, Various Artists

(Verve)

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Despite the title, there is no "number one blues album." And if there were, I'm pretty sure James Brown would not be on it.

That aside, this is a damn fine collection.

The listener is taken through a back and forth time portal, from the bottleneck guitar of Elmore James through the southern blues-rock of the Allman Brothers and the Mississippi Delta of John Lee Hooker, before pausing momentarily in Chicago for some classic Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. Detouring through Memphis by way of Albert King, we're treated to a growling live performance in Nashville by Etta James with many diverse stopovers yet to encounter.

The years and styles are all over the place, but it makes for one hell of a ride.

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