Elmore James (1918 - 1963) was a truly legendary Delta Blues figure. During his short life of 45 years, he rendered some of the most exciting traditional blues recordings ever made. His early years were important to his later style and musical skills as it was during his youth that he met Robert Johnson and Rice Miller. It isn't likely that he received lessons from Johnson, however he exhibited more than mere traces of the master's stinging guitar riffs in later years. By 1939, he was playing in front of great groups with horn sections but his popularity with record buyers was to wait until the 1950s.
This CD presents Elmore James in the period of 1951 to 1963 and his work on various memorable labels including Trumpet, Flair, Modern, Chief, Vee-Jay, Chess and Fire. When Rhino Records titled this release, The Very Best Of Elmore James, they meant exactly that.
If you are a blues novice, you'll enjoy this offering. On the other hand, Elmore James collectors will love the quality of sound and the relief that you won't have to handle those precious 78s and 45s as often. The sixteen tracks include all the truly important sessions including Dust My Broom, Cry For Me Baby, Madison Blues, Standing At The Crossroads, Done Somebody Wrong and Shake Your Moneymaker. The Robert Johnson acoustic style is transferred into a flashy and earthshaking electric slide performance.
The music of Elmore James was to be a guiding light for future stars including Fleetwood Mac, The Allman Brothers, George Thorogood, Mike Bloomfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The packaged notes are great and a discography is included.
This compilation is, in my humble opinion, a blues essential.