Featuring – Lurrie Bell, Carrie Bell, Albert King James Cotton, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Magic Sam, Big Jack Johnson, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, Billy Branch
11 songs time-42:26
Putumayo World Music, an offshoot of Putumayo the clothing and handicrafts chain of stores has been releasing samplers of World Music for many years. They continue to showcase music from various world cultures and do it quite well. Blues Party, their latest release, contains contributions from several blues icons, along with some lesser known players is a good representation of quality blues music. Most of the musicians included in this collection have gone on to that great juke joint in the sky with the exception of Lurrie Bell and Billy Branch who both recently released new albums. Serious blues aficionados may have some of this material in their collections, but it serves as a perfect starting point for the curious music fan looking to get a more in-depth handle on the genre.
The late Albert King, one of the bigger names, contributes a rousing version of Robert Johnson’s “Dust My Broom”, although Robert called it “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom”. Elmore later recorded an electric version that Albert patterns his version after. Albert does the song justice with his Chicago big city sound propelled by his biting guitar licks, rollicking piano work and some fine saxophone playing. Being the only artist here represented by two tracks, he also delivers the instrumental “Albert’s Groove #2”. It’s a guitar showcase punctuated by a funky horn section.
Another past purveyor of Chicago style guitar, the legendary Magic Sam, lends his smooth vocals and guitar to “I Have The Same Old Blues”. Lurrie Bell, Carey Bell’s son, currently carries on the Chicago blues guitar sound along with his rough shod voice lending authenticity to his rendition of Big Bill Broonzy’s “I Feel So Good”. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown brings his swinging guitar sound and bluesy voice to Muddy Waters’ “I Got My Mojo Working” backed by a horn section. Big Jack Johnson, once of The Jelly Roll Kings, rounds out the guitar portion of the proceedings in fine form along with beefy vocals on “I Wanna Know”.
Johnny “Big Moose” Walker, primarily a backup pianist and organist, delivers strong vocals and piano playing on “Would You, Baby”. The other piano player-singer featured on this collection is the sassy Katie Webster from Texas on the boisterous delivering on “Two-Fisted Mama”.
The formidable and dynamic harmonica quartet of James Cotton, Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch offer a track from their Alligator Records release “Harp Attack”, where they share the harp and vocal duties on Z.Z. Hill’s “Down Home Blues”. This is a true meeting of the harmonica aces. Speaking of which, the legendary Big Walter Horton contributes his harp skills and vocals to “Have A Good Time”, an exuberant romp.
A curious inclusion is that of Fernest Arceneaux & His Louisiana French Band, an accordion driven Zydeco band. Their “I Don’t Want Nobody” is bluesy with some good blues guitar.
No original big blues hits here, but the songs and musicianship throughout are first rate and a good representation of what the blues is all about. This great collection is the perfect introduction to the blues or a great listen of the styles of the masters!