Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Illustrators: R.A. Andreas; Detlev Hoegen; Victor Pearlin.
Photographers: R.A. Andreas; Detlev Hoegen; Victor Pearlin.
This is the third three-disc volume in Bear Family Records' ambitious four-volume history of the electric blues, all compiled and annotated by blues historian and musicologist Bill Dahl. The Gibson guitar company introduced the first electric guitar in the 1930s, and the advent of amplification meant the blues could preach louder and longer, which allowed a country acoustic music to transform itself into its own kind of powerfully rhythmic pop music. Taken as a whole, this ambitious Bear Family series traces and surveys that transformation, beginning with jazz-inspired jump blues tracks and following through to the juncture of blues and rock, blues and funk, and beyond, on into the 21st century. This particular volume covers 1960 to 1969, a time when blues and rock & roll really started to join hands, and it features classic tracks like Buddy Guy's "First Time I Met the Blues," Jimmy Reed's "Big Boss Man," Albert King's "Crosscut Saw," and B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby," but it also collects lesser-known gems like Frank Frost's "Jelly Roll King" and Junior Parker's "Driving Wheel," then slides into blues and rock hybrids like the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun," Canned Heat's Henry Thomas-inspired "On the Road Again," and Janis Joplin's "Ball and Chain," before closing things out with Stevie Wonder's blues-based "I Ain't Superstitious" done by the Jeff Beck Group. Bear Family Records is known for its quality releases, and this volume is no exception. When the full 12 discs are taken together, with nearly 300 tracks, it makes for a fascinating survey of the blues in all of its electric configurations. ~ Steve Leggett