Texas Blues has a long and varied history and has managed to incorporate many influences, including jazz, Ragtime and country as well as the work songs and juke-joint music that is fundamental to traditional Blues. From the late 60s, Texas became synonymous with hard-rocking ‘roadhouse’ Blues but it’s roots run deep.
LIGHTNIN’ HOPKINS – BLUES MASTERS
Lightnin’ recorded for many companies and these 20 tracks (from 10 different labels) cover his most productive years, 1947-1961. Starting with ‘Katy-Mae’ and on up to ‘Mojo Hand’, it includes most of Lightnin’s chart records in their original form. It is easy to see how how his material became a favourite subject for Blues-rockers to cover, as the quality is right there in your ears.
JOHN CAMPBELL – ONE BELIEVER
The demonic imagery and gravedigger voice might not appeal to everybody, but this is undeniably some great Blues. The spooky arrangements on this album give a new twist to the down-the-line Blues-guitar versions of John’s live work, with dream-like organ swirls and sweetly sustained guitars providing the misty atmosphere from whence the monsters emerge to grab you!
CHRIS DUARTE- TEXAS SUGAR/STRAT MAGIC
Chris’s debut album made a big impact when it first appeared, as the SRV style Texas Blues-rock that his band had honed on the regional club circuit finally made it onto a record. Largely self-written, this album has some exceptional guitar work from delicate, lyrical phrases to the vitriolic intensity of tracks like ‘Big Leg Woman’ and ‘My Way Down’.
LOU ANN BARTON – READ MY LIPS
This excellent 15 track album shows Lou Ann fronting a hot Blues-rock band that includes input from Kim Wilson, Jimmie Vaughan and David ‘Fathead’ Newman. Lou Ann’s full, rich voice gives her interpretations of material from Lazy Lester, Slim Harpo, Irma Thomas and Wanda Jackson a strong, no-nonsense treatment from a real Blues Woman.
JOHNNY WINTER – SECOND WINTER
This 2-disc Legacy Edition has the original album with a pair of bonus tracks, coupled with a knock-out live set recorded at the Albert Hall in London, which includes the first ever outing of Johnny’s brother, Edgar’s hit ‘Frankenstein’. The Second Winter album made a big statement for Johnny, as his versions of rockers like ‘Johnny B Goode’ and the workover he gives to Dylan’s ‘Highway 61’ showed he was a young man with a lot to say. The standard edition is available very cheaply.
JUKE BOY BONNER – LIFE GAVE ME A DIRTY DEAL
This fantastic 23 track collection produced by Chris Strachwitz has Juke Boy opening his heart to tell us about the hard times in his life, when he was hanging around the streets of Houston in the late 60s. The title track sums up the mood of this album and Juke Boy’s perceptive lyrics paint a vivid picture of his world.
JOHNNY COPELAND – HONKEY TONKIN’
Most Texas blues fans will probably have ‘Showdown!’ already, and it wasn’t all Johnny anyway. This sampler has a dozen excellent tracks, mainly from the early Rounder albums when Johnny’s songwriting talents were catching up with his Texas shuffle guitar work. Some later tracks are here too, including the glorious original version of ‘Kasavubu’.
JIMMIE VAUGHAN – BEST OF THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS
Sub-titled ‘Early Bird Special’, this 18 track compilation documents the years when Jimmie was in the band. Their most famous tracks are all here, and there are five great live recordings too. While Jimmie has gone on to great things as a solo artist, his Texas ‘roadhouse’ style with the Thunderbirds made such an important statement about where modern Blues is coming from, it stands as a great testament to his vision.
MANCE LIPSCOMB – TEXAS SONGSTER
This superb 22 track compilation comprises the original ‘Sharecropper’ tracks, with further selections from Mance’s Arhoolie catalogue. The wide variety of songs Mance recorded truly justify the ‘songster’ tag, and his superb musicianship shines through, giving a flavour of where the Blues originated.
CLARENCE ‘Gatemouth’ BROWN – ORIGINAL PEACOCK RECORDINGS
twelve tracks of hard-rocking, horn-driven Texas R&B.
HOP WILSON – STEEL GUITAR FLASH
This 29-track collection has most of Hop’s output, and he is helped out on vocals by King Ivory Lee and Fenton Robinson
ANTONE’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Buddy Guy, Pinetop Perkins, Snooky Prior, James Cotton, Matt Murphy, Jimmy Rogers and local girl Angela Strehli all rock out at this renowned venue.
DOUG SAHM – JUKE BOX MUSIC/LAST REAL TEXAS BLUES BAND
The Grammy-winning ‘Last Real Texas Blues Band’ is partly recorded live at Antone’s in Austin, and Juke Box Music has hints of Zydeco, Country tunes and New Orleans R&B.
ANSON FUNDERBURG – BLAST OFF!
Anson is a thoughtful and gracious guitarist, and Sam Myers a superb front-man, harp player and songwriter, so this album is well worth a listen.
WC CLARK – HEART OF GOLD
The album that brought the Godfather of the Austin Blues scene to wider notice, Heart of Gold has everything from full-blooded Blues to Soul and Tex-Mex
WHISTLIN’ ALEX MOORE – COMPLETE RECORDED WORKS
This album collects Alex’s work from the 1929, and 1937 sessions. Some tracks have Perry Dixon or Nick Nichols on vocals, but there is plenty of whistlin’ too.
ALBERT COLLINS – ICE PICKIN’
First issued in 1978, when Albert had been around for 20 years, this is some very influential guitar work.
SMOKEY HOGG – ANGELS IN HARLEM
This 22-track compilation has Smokey’s best work out on the West-coast in the early 50s, most of it self-written.
ROY GAINES – TUXEDO BLUES
Twelve tracks, equally divided between Roy’s own compositions and somw well chosen material.
SMOKIN’ JOE KUBEK – BLOOD BROTHERS
This is old-school Texas ‘Roadhouse Blues’ at it’s indestructable best, with a great singer, an accomplished lead guitar man and a tight little band that sounds like they play together every night.