Big Shanty started getting attention in 2007 with the release of Ride with the Wind. He’s remained a cult favorite since then, and, in a way, it’s easy to see why he hasn’t had more of a mainstream break. He plays the blues, but it’s not a traditional sound. He and his bandmates (including Liz Melendez on a number of tracks) take an aggressive approach to the music. It’s hard, dirty, and grinding, at times as reliant on heavy metal as on the blues, but make no mistake—this is the blues, and not blues-rock. The new two-disc release Collection plays as an attempt to quickly catch newcomers up to speed. It mostly works, but it’s an odd arrangement given the brevity of his career to this point and the fact that the songs would nearly fit on one disc. There’s a mix of hits and rarities, as well as studio and live tracks. Unfortunately, aside from personnel listings, there’s nothing in the liner notes to explain these songs, not even a listing of where they originally appeared. Fans should be pleased and newbies will be encouraged, but it feels as if King Mojo Records missed the opportunity to make a major statement with this release.
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