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11) The Spencer Davis Group – Eight Gigs a Week – The Steve Winwood Years
This 2-CD set collects nearly everything the Steve Winwood-era (1964-1967) Spencer Davis Group ever recorded. It’s not all blues — there’s plenty of R&B and some pop as well — but nearly everything Stevie &company recorded was choice. Best blues tracks: “Dimples”, “Here Right Now”, “Midnight Train”, ”I’ll Drown in My Own Tears”, “This Hammer”, “Let Me Down Easy”, “Watch Your Step”, ”Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”, “Stevie’s Blues” and “Goodbye Stevie”. Best non-blues tracks: “I Can’t Stand It”, “Look Away”, “Keep On Running”, “Somebody Help Me”, “Gimme Some Lovin’”, “I’m a Man” and “I Can’t Get Enough of It”.

12) Fleetwood Mac – The Complete Blue Horizons Sessions 1967–1969 (1999)
6 CDs collect all of Fleetwood Mac’s Blue Horizon label recordings (released and unreleased) and outtakes, including their double CD set recorded with blues legends from Chicago for a whopping total of 99 tracks. That’s a lot of great Peter Green recordings for what was once a bargain price (the original release price was an amazing $20; it’s probably much higher now). Best tracks include “Need Your Love So Bad”, “Albatross”, “Black Magic Woman”, “Homework”, “Drifting”, “One Sunny Day”, “Without You”, “Stop Messin’ Round”, “Trying So Hard to Forget”, “Long Grey Mare”, “Shake Your Moneymaker” and “I Loved Another Woman”.

In 1991 Castle Communications put out The Original Fleetwood Mac – The Blues Years, a 3-CD, 50 track box set, a great collection of early Fleetwood Mac that also includes a few related tracks like Christine Perfect’s (McVie’s) version of “I’d Rather Go Blind” backed by Chicken Shack.

13) Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On (1969/2013)

A masterpiece (every track is great) of progressive blues, the 2013 deluxe expanded edition contains all the tracks from both the UK and American versions of the album, plus a single released at the time. The cream of the cream: “Show-Biz Blues”, “One Sunny Day”, “Rattlesnake Shake”, “Oh Well”, “Before the Beginning” and “The Green Manalishi (with the Two Prong Crown)”, plus some of the most inspired blues jamming ever recorded on “Fighting for Madge” and “Searching for Madge”. British blues doesn’t get better than this. Strange cover, though, for a blues album.

14) Free – Tons of Sobs (1968/2001)
Although their second LP, Free (1969), is my favorite album by Free, their first, Tons of Sobs is the most bluesy. The 2001 CD was expanded with 8 bonus tracks. Sit back and enjoy “Over the Green Hills”, “I’m a Mover”, “Goin’ Down Slow”, “The Hunter”, “Walk in My Shadow”, “Waitin’ On You” and “Moonshine”.

15) Rory Gallagher – Collection (2012)
This 2-disc CD boasts the best cuts from 15 Rory Gallagher albums. The live CD Irish Tour is a good sample of Rory as well, and perhaps an even better introduction to his music. Recommended: “Laundromat”, “Who’s That Coming”, “In Your Town”, “Cradle Rock”, “Walk on Hot Coals”, “I Could’ve Had Religion” and “Bullfrog Blues”. The live versions are generally better than their studio counterparts (not so with Taste).

Try to find an old 2-CD version of Irish Tour.., as it seems to be the only version with all 11 tracks (the others leave off either “Just A Little Bit” or “Maritime”).

The Best of Taste featuring Rory Gallagher (1994) is an excellent collection of his early recordings. Try “Railway and Gun”, “Leaving Blues”, “Same Old Story” and “Catfish”. It’s a shame that “Eat My Words” and “Morning Sun” weren’t included.

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