At the beginning of the 20th century, an indigenous folk music emerged from the Mississippi Delta. In the years that followed, this musical form evolved and became popular as ‘blues’. The traveling blues musicians carried the genre across the southern states of America. Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lead Belly, and other wandering artists sang the blues songs along with spirituals and folk ballads.
In their subsequent recordings, Belly and Jefferson used blues as their genre. The first blues song was recorded in 1920 by Mamie Smith. Over the years, many blues albums have become popular among the fans of this musical genre. Here are some of the best albums for the blues fans:
1. King Of The Delta Blues Singers – Robert Johnson
As a fan of blues music, you might go for a collection of Robert Johnson’s full recordings. Instead, start with this LP, which is more of an introduction of this music legend to the world. The recordings of Johnson were from the years before his death in the year 1938. Half of this album came out as 78 RPM singles. The other half was out at the same time with takes that were never released before.
There were several rumors about Johnson doing the rounds. According to one such rumor, the singer had sold his soul to the Devil at Mississippi crossroads. Within a few years of its release, this album attracted a sizable audience. Among them were the budding artists from the United Kingdom.
2. Live At The Regal – B.B. King
This is the album that had a great influence on Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton. It’s the recording of B.B. King’s live performance at the Regal Theater in Chicago. The date of this event was the 21st of November 1964. It had many screaming fans who were full of adoration for King. At the event, he was at the peak of his abilities. His vocals were full of passion and his guitar lines were pure magic.
3. Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix
At the time of the album’s release, Hendrix was an unknown performer and going through a tough financial struggle. So, it won’t be wrong to say that this record launched his career. Are You Experienced? went on to become a hit both commercially and critically.
Hendrix took the blues genre to new heights with his unmatched performances. They were an excellent blend of composure, feeling, emotion, and pure melody. More than half a century later, this album stands out as one of the best albums of Jimi Hendrix.
4. From The Cradle – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton is popular worldwide as one of the greatest guitarists. In this album, which was his 13th solo studio album, he is full of respect for his blues roots. Through From The Cradle, he came up with interpretations of popular tunes by several American blues artists. Some of them were Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Lowell Fulson, Tampa Red, and Freddy King.
Although the album didn’t quite impress the critics, it topped the US and UK album charts. From The Cradle was also the winner of the Best Traditional Blues Album award at the 1995 Grammy Awards. This album undoubtedly has some of the best guitar work of Eric Clapton’s career.