Let's Get The Blues (Again)
Well, I missed out on Cosmik Debris' birthday celebration last month, but hope that you caught some of my blues reviews in our CD Review screens. This month, I'm back with a bushel full of blues bargains, courtesy of the Blues Music Association and Alligator Records. I've also got some choice new releases over in CD Reviews, including hot new discs from Kim Wilson, E.G. Kight, and blues songstress extraordinaire, Toni Lynn Washington.
But first, let's Get the Blues (Again).
Get The Blues 2 is scheduled to hit the streets on July 8th, and if it is anything like its predecessor, this compilation will satisfy longtime blues junkies and win over quite a few new followers to the blues. Get the Blues 2 is the sophomore joint effort from the National Association of Recording Merchandisers Classical/Jazz Issue Forum and the Blues Music Association. Ryko will handle the distribution, and with these marketing and distribution engines behind Get the Blues 2, I have high hopes for this compilation.
Last year's disc sold 87,000 copies in the U.S.A. and remained on the Billboard Blues Chart until all manufactured copies were sold out, and was the #4 blues record of 2002 on the SoundScan year-end sales chart for 2002. SoundScan coverage is important because it is the sales basis for the Billboard music charts. SoundScan tracks sales of music and music video products throughout the United States and Canada from cash registers, collected weekly from over 14,000 retail, mass merchant and non-traditional (on-line stores, venues, etc.) outlets.
Get the Blues 2 is priced at $1.98. Like last year's collection, that's not a misprint! That's less than the price of your drug of choice, be it a double tall latte or a pint of microbrew, and you'll get 18 tracks of some of the best that the blues has to offer, both old and new. There's the traditional blues artists I'd expect, such as Howlin Wolf, "Worried About My Baby (rehearsal take)" (MCA/Universal (UMG), Muddy Waters, "Streamline Woman" (Sony/Legacy), and Koko Taylor, "I'm a Woman" (Alligator). Get the Blues 2 stretches nicely with younger blues talent, including E.G. Kight, "Sad Sad Sunday (Blue South), David Jacobs-Strain's "River Was Green" (Northern Blues), and Rick Holstrom's "Pee Wee's Nightmare" (Tone-Cool).
I can't wait to Get the Blues 2.
That's Dr. Iglauer to You...
Last month, Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin presented Bruce Iglauer, founder and president of Alligator Records, with an honorary Doctor of Music degree. I heard years ago, when the late Frank Sinatra was awarded an honorary doctorate, he said something like, "you can now call me Doctor Blue Eyes. That's all right by me."
Well, honorary or not, I think that Bruce Iglauer is truly a Doctor of the Blues. He is a Lawrence U alum, and shortly after earning his degree in Theatre he formed Alligator Records in 1971 to record his favorite blues band, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers. He had been working for Chicago's Delmark Records, but decided to go out on his own.
Call me biased, but I hope the well deserved recognition doesn't stop for Bruce. Last year, Chicago magazine named him a "Chicagoan of the Year," and the Blues Hall of Fame inducted him in 1997. The Montreaux Jazz Festival honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and I still think he's a relatively young guy for getting a Lifetime Achievement Award. Iglauer is also this year's President of the Blues Music Association. Does that mean I have to call him Dr. President Blues? If so, that's okay, too.
Bruce has been at the helm of Alligator for 32 years and the label's new Crucial Blues series is right on the money at just the right price. Check out Crucial Chicago Blues or Crucial Harmonica Blues and you won't be disappointed with these great samplers that retail for $7.98. Whether you crave Son Seals, Luther Allison, Carey Bell, or Charlie Musselwhite, these samplers are worthy of any blues survey course. Just consider it part of your blues education.
Talk about blues bargains: this month, I've discovered three high quality blues CDs for under twenty bucks. Pinch me, 'cause I must be dreamin'.
As your Cosmik Blues correspondent, I think it's crucial that you get the second volume of Get the Blues, and check out the newest on Dr. Iglauer's pioneering blues label, Alligator Records.