VARIOUS ARTISTS – Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection (Alligator)

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection (Alligator)
Scott C. Davis

You want the blues? Start by realizing that the record label that probably got you into the blues as a young adult is
now 30 years old! Alligator Records started as an inheritance-fueled dream by Bruce Iglauer to record his idol,
Hound Dog Taylor, and now, 30 years later, Alligator Records is the largest independent contemporary blues label in
the world. Iglauer took in the blues and gave it a home when everyone else was slamming the door, and his persistence has created over the years perhaps the finest stable of blues stars around. This 2-CD collection is more than a retrospective—it’s a
Who’s Who of blues history. We’re talking Koko Taylor, Carey Bell, Son Seals, Luther Allison, Lonnie Brooks, Phillip
Walker and Junior Wells here. You got your Robert Cray, James Cotton, Albert Collins and Cephas & Wiggins. The
Holmes Brothers are here, along with Marcia Ball, The Kinsey Report, Lonnie Mack and Lil’ Ed Williams. How about a
collection that starts off with the contemporary one-two punch of Shemekia Copeland and Michael Burks, two of the
incendiary stars on the blues scene today? Iglauer has cleverly divided the collection into two CDs, In the Studio and
the live On the Stage, bringing you the absolute best of both worlds. Five of the live performances were previously
unreleased. Not satisfied yet? How does the CD-ROM bonus grab you—a previously unreleased three-minute video
of Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers that is believed to be the only live footage of the Dog in existence? And
should you need more than this, you can settle back and cue up Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Coco Montoya, Delbert
McClinton, Corey Harris, Henry Butler, Sapphire, Elvin Bishop, Rusty Zinn, Johnny Winter or William Clark. A terrific
24-page booklet with photos explains everything to you. This is simply an astounding collection of talent and music
that can provide additional entertainment as you argue with your friends over which stellar performance is the best!
Do you prefer the veteran 21-time Handy Award winner Koko Taylor who powers through Bring Me Some Water, or
relative newcomer Shemekia Copeland, who percolates through Turn the Heat Up and who nailed down two Handys
herself this year. Can you pick between the haunting harp of Carey Bell on Hard Working Woman and the freight train
roar of the late William Clark’s chromatic on Broke and Hungry? Speaking of hungry, how about a live menu that
includes C.J. Chenier’s Jambalaya and Lil’ Ed’s Chicken, Gravy and Biscuits? There’s some bad weather here, too,
as Rusty Zinn has The Chill and James Cotton notes that When It Rains, It Pours. It’s enough to give Albert Collins
& the Icebreakers the Dyin’ Flu. Elvin Bishop wants you Slow Down, while Lonnie Mack wants you to Stop. You better
make up your mind, because The Kinsey Report gives a smokin’ notice that Time is Running Out. Fortunately, you
don’t have to pick and choose here, because Bruce Iglauer has made all the right choices for you. The best choice
you can make is to load both these CDs into your player and hit the repeat button.
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