There is nothing better in the obsessive record collecting world than finding a record that immediately grabs you and takes you back to another time. It’s the grail quest for the modern man and it made worse by those hipster pretenders strolling the streets like big game hunters disturbing the herds that you are hunting for food.
A long time ago before I was really aware of the social and cultural significance of the blues I thought it was something the Yardbirds and the Stones played and Zeppelin made their own. At some point I fell in with a friendly librarian as I was borrowing the John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers album with Claptin reading the Beano on the front. He frowned at me and made the executive decision to loan me the Atlantic Blues box-set. Now this in itself was amazing as you normally needed a papal dispensation to get a box-set out of the Huyton library unless you were an adult, I guess at 19 I was technically an adult. Obviously my excellent taste had won him over or maybe it was my exemplary record of returning albums unscathed.
Whatever the reason I was suddenly thrust into eight albums of Atlantic Blues. Divided into four collections, Piano, Guitar, Vocalists and Chicago. In no way is it the greatest besets blues collection in the world, that would require way too many records for a callow youth to carry home. Either way I am totally convinces that there is no better side of blues than side 3. of this collections Chicago section.
After all what more do you need, songs about booze, women and driving and then you get to sweep up. It’s the perfect four tracks for any album. Of course there is always side 4 that has Freddie King going down to arrive when you flip the record.
Yes as many reviewers who undoubtedly know better than me will attest this is not the all encompassing retrospective. This collection however did blow my mind at the age of 19. I also have an incredible sense of satisfaction that I rescued this from the hipster in the store who saw it as some sort of artifact from bygone days instead of eightt glorious sides of sweaty dirty blues.