Five more years have brought us to another star-studded, action-packed Alligator Anniversary Collection. The past Collections have been some of the finest blues collections put on disc. This collection is no different; and it is jammed with two facets of Alligator gems; cuts culled from the countless studio takes and live performances that were chosen for your satisfaction. An added bonus is the enhancement of the discs showing a live video performance of Hound Dog Taylor, the first artist recorded by the fledgling Alligator Records back in the early seventies.
The studio takes come from previous releases by Shemekia Copeland, Michael Burks, Marcia Ball (the newest 'Gator' artist), Junior Wells, Robert Cray & Albert Collins, Corey Harris & Henry Butler, William Clarke, Koko Taylor, Carey Bell, Rusty Zinn, Corey Harris (solo), The Kinsey Report, Cephas & Wiggins, Dave Hole, The Holmes Brothers, Johnny Winter, and Phillip Walker & Lonnie Brooks.
The live sides include performances by Lonnie Brooks, Luther Allison, C.J. Chenier, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Elvin Bishop, Saffire, Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Delbert McClinton, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Son Seals with Elvin Bishop, Lonnie Mack, and Hound Dog Taylor. The selections are widely diverse, but the common denominator is the superb excellence of each artist. Across the board, Alligator's stable of recording artists remains strong and varied. Stretching from Louisiana, to Chicago, back to the Delta, and then into Texas; Alligator's artists are the cream of the crop.
This disc goes the length as a sampler, but better than that it is something you can play over and over. Never tiring, an Alligator business reflection; this biscuit rocks, digs deep for blues, and rolls along with heavy harmonies and distinctive melodies. Look for a long ride somewhere, so you can plop this in and kick back; by the time you finish the biscuit and/or arrive at your destination, you've treated and schooled yourself to some very fine blues and root music. Another fine collection from Alligator; Happy 30th to 'em.
Alligator Records; P.O Box 60234; Chicago, IL 60660: or, www.alligator.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.