In the same vein as "Ken Burns' Jazz," this five-CD box set is a massive undertaking: both a venerable blues history through 100-plus tracks and a soundtrack to its namesake TV series. Starting with crackling recordings of the earliest recorded blues songs, such as W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" (1914) and Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues" (1920), the collection continues through to the '50s and '60s with the likes of Ray Charles and Slim Harpo, and then on to current artists such as Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray and even Beck. The variety includes jump blues, boogie woogie, contemporary blues rock and, of course, the down-home sounds of the Mississippi Delta, providing a look at the wide-ranging sounds that emerged from the blues diaspora.
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