You’ll get your money’s worth and then some with this set from a record company that began in an Ann Arbor watering hole. Now based in San Francisco, Blind Pig offers a two-CD retrospective plus a CD-ROM of video, performance and interview clips, all for the price of a single disc. It’s an entertaining hopscotch through a wide variety of blues styles, and includes visits from kindred spirits in other rootsy musical camps.
Among the highlights is “Huron River Drive” from the Vipers, a swinging instrumental featuring local luminaries Steve Nardella and George Bedard, recorded at the Pig. It sits comfortably alongside the deep soul of E.C. Scott’s “What A Good Feeling,” the swampy steam of John Mooney’s “Gone To Hell,” the slinky, sexy groove of Deborah Coleman’s “Bendin’ Like A Willow Tree” and the unadulterated Chicago blues of “Wake Me Up Early” from Magic Slim and the Teardrops.
Delbert McClinton, the best roadhouse singer on the planet, teams with Tommy Castro for “Don’t Turn Your Heater Down.” The harmonica of Snooky Pryor is almost too fat to contain in “Work With Me Annie,” while “Pleated Pants” from the Memphis Rockabilly Band might make you want to revamp your wardrobe.
Zydecats will lap up “Who Stole The Hot Sauce?” by Chubby Carrier. Lonely and impoverished guys of all stripes can relate to “Broke” from Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s, a barroom tale of woe about a guy down to his last two bucks and “a chick in a hot pink sweater.” And modern, hip hop-influenced tracks from Popa Chubby and Chris Thomas King complement old-school tracks by Muddy Waters, Pee Wee Crayton, Pinetop Perkins and James Cotton.
You can spend more and get less. But why bother? This compilation stretches your blues buck like nobody’s business, and it’ll leave you enough for the cover charge and a couple beers.
Vic Doucette is the copy editor at Metro Times. E-mail him at email@example.com.