Review: Chicago Anthology – Various Artists

Posted on: Thursday, Jul 10, 2014


Chicago Anthology – Various Artists

Recorded live at Big John’s, Chicago

(Floating World Records: FLOATM6216)

Here’s an interesting re-release featuring some young blues players at the time of its recording, who have gone on to be  household names in the genre, the best known being Charlie Musselwhite, Harvey Mandel and Bobby Goldberg . . . who between them have backed Bob Dylan, played on a Rolling Stones album and in the case of Charlie Musselwhite remained one of the blues greatest-ever harmonica players.

This album was originally released, on vinyl of course, on the Together label in the USA, and here on this CD version the short, but sweet running time captures some raw, sweaty, straight-ahead blues, recorded at Big John’s in Chicago . . . from a time when young white American bluesmen, perhaps inspired by the ‘British invasion’ that featured the blues and r&b of The Rolling Stones and The Animals, began to ‘reclaim’ the music for themselves.

Apart from the three afore-mentioned musicians, also on board are Bobby Jones (guitar), Roy Ruby (bass), Maurice McKinley (drums), and Dave Brian (guitar). However it is Goldberg’s organ playing to the fore on most of the tracks . . . a man who while still in his teens sat in with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Otis Rush, before backing Bob Dylan and forming The Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield.

Harvey Mandel and Charlie Musselwhite also get to feature on this eight-track collection, that contains some orginal numbers as well as a couple of blues ‘chestnuts’ in Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man”, and also Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man”. It has to be said that Musselwhite’s contributions are variable, being a little lost in the background at times, as well as out front as well!

To sum up, an interesting listen from the formative years of some of the players, and well worth a listen!


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