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The best of the blues, live

Antone's Anniversary Anthology, Vol. 2
Antone's Anniversary Anthology, Vol. 2
By various artists

Antone's Records: 1991

This review first appeared in the Sept. 25, 1991 issue of the East County Express Line.

Cliff Antone's Austin, Texas nightclub is to blues what Gilley's is to country/western: a living showcase of some of the best musicians around. Along with the club, Antone also has a record label where he presents many of the legends of blues who have appeared at his venue, as well as some younger up-and-comers.

This second volume of an anthology of music recorded at Antone's features some of the biggest names in blues history lyaing down strong performances. With artists like Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and James Cotton, it would pretty hard to go wrong. When outright stars like these are surrounded by some of the best backing musicians in the business, the results should be – and here are – outstanding.

Not only does the record serve as a showcase for the above artists, but fans of those musicians may end up being even more excited because they sit in with each other for informal jams. Murphy, Cotton and former Muddy Waters guitarist Jimmy Rogers, for instance, help out Pinetop Perkins on "Trouble Blues," while Perkins sits in on piano later behind Guy.

The highlight of this album is the two-song run with harpist Cotton and another former Muddy Waters guitarist, Hubert Sumlin, in a duet: Howlin' Wolf's "Moanin' at Midnight" and Waters' "Evan Shuffle."

Unlike the case with most live albums, the sound quality here is stellar and the crowd knowledgeable enough to shut up while the musicians are playing.