Various Artists: Chicago Blues: A Living History

[3 June 2009]

By Emily Tartanella

Chicago Blues: A Living History is more than your average anthology. While it does feature songs dating all the way back to the 1940s, this album celebrates the past by breathing new life into it. Four major figures on the current Chicago blues scene (Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, and Lurrie Bell) reinterpret classics from the Windy City, each playing with their own, unique interpretation. Full of smooth harmonica and piano-driven blues, Chicago Blues both captures the musical spirit of the city and traces its development through the past 50 years. While classic bluesmen like Bo Diddley or Buddy Guy, not to mention numerous female musicians, might be left behind, this is an engaging, updated introduction to the world of Chicago blues.

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