50 Great British Blues Recordings – Part 4

16) Long John Baldry – John Baldry Boogie Woogie – The Warner Bros. Recordings (1971-1972/2005)
This fantastic 2-CD set includes both of Long John Baldry’s LPs for Warner Bros, supplemented by 10 bonus tracks and 3 radio spots. Rod Stewart and Elton John each produced a side per album, calling in a great group of musicians to make these two sets of sessions truly remarkable. The best blues tracks IMHO are “Black Girl”, “I’m Ready”, “Going Down Slow”, “Love in Vain”, “Midnight Hour Blues”, “Seventh Son” and “You Can’t Judge a Book”.

17) Arthur Brown with Jimmy Carl Black – Brown, Black & Blue (1988/1991)
This is a wonderful straight-ahead blues and R&B set from Arthur Brown (the God of Hellfire) backed by (ex-Mothers of Invention) Jimmy Carl Black (“the Indian of the group”) on drums and a passel of damn good Austin, Texas musicians. There’s nary a bum track on the set. The blues tracks include “”Got My Mojo Working”, “Smokestack Lightnin’” and “Help Me”. I just wish it also included Arthur’s phenomenal take on “I Put a Spell on You”.

For that, you’ll have to pick up The Crazy World of Arthur Brown (1968/2010).

You can find earlier CD versions of the album but the 2010 deluxe 2-CD edition expands the original LP with 12 bonus tracks and an audio interview.

18) The John Dummer Blues Band – Cabal (1969/2003)
The first John Dummer Blues Band LP captures them when they not only had T.S. McPhee, Dave Kelly and ex-Savoy Brown John O’Leary in the group but Bob Hall (piano) and the great Jo Ann Kelly (vocals) helping out as well. Top tracks: “I Need Love”, “Just a Feeling”, “No Chance With You”, “Low Down Santa Fe”, “Welfare Blues” and “After Hours”. The CD includes both sides of their first single as bonus tracks

19) Foghat – Anthology (2000)
This collection combines their first (and bluesiest) LP, Foghat (1972), with their greatest rock hits (and a few blues cuts) from the 1970s.

Standout tracks include their killer version of “Just Want to Make Love to You”, plus “Maybelline”, “Drivin’ Wheel”, “Honey Hush”, “My Babe” and “Highway (Killing Me)”.

Five albums are available on Foghat: Original Album Series, which collects Foghat (1972), Energized (1974), Fool for the City (1975), Foghat Live (1977) and Tight Shoes (1980) into a 5-CD box set.

If you just want blues, there’s Covered by Foghat, a decent 2006 compilation of 11 blues numbers from their back catalogue.

20) The Groundhogs – Thank Christ for the Groundhogs: The Liberty Years 1968–1972 (2010)
This was a tough one: Choose the earlier box set with more blues or the later set with much better sound? I went for the early set because it also shows The Groundhogs’ transformation from classic blues to progressive blues to progressive rock. The ’68-‘72 3-CD box set collects the first five albums — with bonus tracks — by Tony McPhee and the Groundhogs at a great price. There’s something dark and musty about this compelling British blues band. Best tracks: “Rocking Chair”, “Early in the Morning”, “No More Doggin’”, “Still a Fool” and “B.D.D.”.

Unfortunately, one of my favorite Groundhogs LPs, Solid (1974/1993), isn’t on this set (but is available on CD).

That, and McPhee’s solo CD The Two Sides of Tony (T.S.) McPhee, recorded around the same time, make a great set.

There’s also the later 3-CD set: The Groundhogs: The United Artists Years (1972-1976), containing four of their LPs (three studio LPs, including Hogwash, one of their best, and their BBC In Concert double LP) and one bonus track.

The band eventually circled back to the blues but not before they recorded a series of wild and aggressive Piedmont-drone-blues-in-outer-space type songs. Favorite tracks: “I Love Miss Ogyny”, “3744 James Road”, “”Mr. Hooker, Sir John”, “Crosscut Saw” and “Mean Mistreater”.

The BGO CDs of Hogwash (1972/1991) and Scratching the Surface (1968/1990) have four great classic blues bonus tracks each and are well worth picking up.

Keep on Bluesin’!

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