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A solid introduction to the blues

Guitar Player Magazine Presents Legends of Guitar - Electric Blues, Volume One
Guitar Player Magazine Presents Legends of Guitar – Electric Blues, Volume One
By various artists

Rhino Records: 1990

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This review first appeared in the November/December 1991 issue of Living Blues magazine.

This release is like on of those old K-Tel "Greatest Hits" albums that once were advertised on late-night TV. Only instead of Elvis and the Righteous Brothers, we get names like B.B. King, Albert King, T-Bone Walker, Guitar Slim and Lightning Hopkins.

As this release is co-issued by Guitar Player magazine, there will undoubtedly be argument over whether other artists should have been included and if other songs by the artists who are here would have been more representative. (Answers: Probably, but that would be the case no matter the selections, nor who made them.)

Most of all, this is a fun album. There isn't too much new here, just a lot of old friends that can never wear out their welcome. In that sense, this is much like Ace Records' British release of a few years ago, "Kings of the Blues."

Among that which is new is Eddie Taylor's "Find My Baby," which the liner notes indicate is previously unissued from the Vee-Jay vaults, and Earl Hooker's "The Hucklebuck," from the Sun vaults (and not included on – at least not on the original vinyl version of – Charly Records' "Sun Records: The Blues Years" box set).

This is a very strong introduction to blues history for the listener seeking a general overview of the music, although there will be those who will argue that the inclusion of Johnny Winter and Charlie Musselwhite will confuse the neophyte. And, to be honest, the liner notes are more lengthy than informative, a disappointment in a project of this breadth.