Best Blues Album Beginners Should Check Out


The enormous breadth and depth of blues music could prove to be a bit intimidating for new fans. Ranging from acoustic Piedmont blues to British blues-rock and Texas blues/rock to Chicago blues, blow are some great albums that can be a good start for your blues collection: 

- Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry Sing: Smithson Folkways, 1958

Harp player Sonny Terry Sing and guitarist Brownie McGhee were the most popular duo to have performed Piedmont blues style. They popularized folk-blues with a white, young audience that created the mid-1960s folk-rock sound. The legendary Folkways label originally released this in 1958 and it is a combination of the most inspired performances from original material like ‘Dark Road’ and ‘Better Day’ to traditional songs like ‘John Henry’.

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- Buddy Guy: I Was Walking Through the Woods (Chess Records, 1970)

Buddy Guy, blues guitar legend recorded for Chess Records between 1960 and 1967, but the Chess Brothers were mostly interested in exploiting his talent as a session player for artists like Koko Taylor and Muddy Waters. This is a collection of 10 singles that he recorded during the 1960s for the label and they frame his scorching fretwork and vocal style perfectly.

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- The Fabulous Thunderbirds: The Fabulous Thunderbirds (Takoma Records, 1979)

It took five albums for the Fabulous Thunderbirds to become mainstream, but the band’s self-titled debut album, which is also called Girls Gone Wild, is a great representation of their early Texas roadhouse sound. It is a heady mix that hits your ears and it laid the groundwork for the contemporary blues band.

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- Howlin’ Wolf: ‘Moanin in the Moonlight’ (Chess Records, 1962)

Moanin in the Moonlight was Howlin’ Wolf’s first album that was released in 1959 that includes singles he made with Chess between 1951 and 1959. His self-titled album was released in 1962 and included songs that he had recorded between 1961 and 1962. Put together in one CD, Wolf’s first two albums are an excellent example of some of his best work. Supported by the talents of studio bass player and songwriter Willie Dixon, along with guitarists Jimmy Rogers and Hubert Sumlin, he established blues-rock standards.

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- John Lee Hooker: The Legendary Modern Recordings 1948-54 (Ace, 1993)

This comprises of almost two dozen of Hooker’s powerful performances and earliest sides on which most of his legacy is based. Songs like ‘I’m in the Mood’, ‘Crawlin’ King Snake’ and ‘Boogie Chillen’ would later inspire the Rolling Stones.

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