You’ve seen my Top 50 British blues selections in past Journal entries. Here are four other recommendations; they’re all excellent various artist compilations on the British blues.
1) Various – The Blue Horizon Story 1965–1970 Vol. 1 (1997)
This 3-CD set (with a 60 pp. book) is a solid retrospective of the UK’s most important blues label. While mostly British blues, there’s a strong presence of classic American blues artists as well. British singers and players include Chicken Shack, Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation, Fleetwood Mac, Jo Ann Kelly, John Mayall, Eric Clapton, T.S. McPhee, Christine Perfect, Savoy Brown’s Blues Band and Top Topham.
2) Various – The Immediate Blues Anthology (1996)
This 3-CD (72 songs) box set (with a 36 pp. booklet) hosts 6 LPs’ worth of a rich variety of some of the best late-1960s blues singers and players out of Britain. Jimmy Page was an Immediate staff producer who recorded and produced several blues tracks for the company. The label’s blues stable (featured on CDs 1 and 2) at times included John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, T.S. McPhee, The Savoy Brown Blues Band, Jo Ann Kelly, Jeremy Spencer, Cyril Davies, Jeff Beck, Dave Kelly and Fleetwood Mac, among others. The set’s third CD consists of bluesy cuts by Immediate pop talent such as Rod Stewart, The Small Faces, Amen Corner and Chris Farlowe.
3) Various – Hoochie Coochie Men – A History of UK Blues and R&B 1955–2001 (2002)
This terrific 4-CD (98 songs) collection with loads of rarities from both well-known and very obscure purveyors of British blues is the only set on the subject that covers such a wide time span, from Lonnie Donegan to Gary Moore.
4) Various – Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues – Red, White & Blues (2003)
This CD complements the British blues episode of Martin Scorsese’s TV blues series that ran on PBS in the U. S. Among the older cuts there are fine, new blues recordings, including “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” (Tom Jones), “Goin’ Down Slow” and “Hard Times” (both by Tom Jones & Jeff Beck), “Drown In My Own Tears” (Lulu & Jeff Beck) and “Rollin’ & Tumblin’” (Jeff Beck). The DVD is enjoyable as well and features the above artists plus Georgie Fame, Chris Farlowe, Van Morrison and others.
That’s pretty much it for the British Blues until I finish my next blues book. In the meantime, I’ve compiled a few more film lists, including three on good Horror, Sci-fi and Fantasy films you might have missed. Coming Soon!, as they used to say at the drive-in.