Delta Blues is one of the greatest sub-genres of the blues what with the simplicity of a singer alone with a guitar, the soulful singing and the richness of the lone guitar. This past April, World Music Network paid tribute to the realm of Delta Blues and the artists who made it so popular in its infancy through its compilation record, The Rough Guide to Delta Blues Vol. 2. The 26-song record is hardly the first of its kind of World Music Network, having come 20 years after the company released the collection’s predecessor. Other compilations featuring well-known Delta Blues artists, such as Charley Patton, Robert Johnson, and Blind Boy Fuller have all come along since, too. To that end, fans of the blues and Delta Blues have gotten plenty of Delta Blues music since the release of that first Delta Blues compilation. That aside, the set presented here is enjoyable in its own right. That is due in large part to its featured songs, which will be discussed shortly. The liner notes that accompany the set’s musical content add to the engagement and will be addressed a little later. The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the compilation. All things considered they make the set yet another enjoyable addition to WMN’s ongoing The Rough Guide To… series of compilations.
The Rough Guide to Delta Blues Volume 2 is an enjoyable new collection of Delta Blues from World Music Network. It is a presentation that will appeal equally to fans od Delta Blues and blues alike. That is due in large part to its featured songs. The songs that make up the compilation’s body come from a time period when Delta Blues were really gaining popularity among American audiences. The earliest of the songs featured in the set were recorded in 1928, which would have been just past the infancy of the genre’s popularity. From there, the songs span a time frame reaching all the way to 1940, a point at which Delta Blues really had gained real traction among audiences. What’s more, the songs featured are from names that many listeners might not know. They include the likes of Mississippi Matilda, Rube Lacey, and and Jelly Jaw Short. At the same time, others, such as Son House, Tommy Johnson, and Memphis Minnie, perhaps the most well-known female Delta Blues singer of all time. So basically, what audiences get from this collection of songs is a history lesson of sorts. It is another nice addition to the ongoing history of the genre that WMN has been presenting for years.
The musical content featured in The Rough Guide to Delta Blues Volume 2 forms a solid foundation for the compilation and is just one part of what makes the set worth hearing. The liner notes that accompany the musical content add their own share of interest to the presentation. The liner notes open by pointing out the role that race played in the popularity of Delta Blues early on, making for a starting point on discussions centered on said topic. The history lesson also points out the supposed birthplace of the genre, Clarksdale, Mississippi and the Dockery Plantation. The apparent rise, fall and then resurgence of the genre’s popularity in the 1960s also gets a mention in the liner notes, making for a starting point for another discussion in itself on a separate topic. There is even a mention of the role of women in the blues community as part of the liner notes, a starting point for yet another discussion. All things considered here, the liner notes featured in this collection strengthen the foundation formed by the record’s content and make for even more engagement and entertainment.
For all that the primary and secondary content does to make this set engaging and entertaining, there is still one more item to note in examining the presentation. That item is the record’s production. The production is, as always, so notable because of the audio quality. Once again, the static that was so audible on the recordings’ original vinyl releases cuts through so nicely here. There is no loss at any point, either. To that end, the CD presentation here sounds just like it was a vinyl release, further showing that vinyl will never replace CDs. Keeping that in mind along with the positive impact of the record’s overall content, the whole makes this set yet another positive addition to this year’s field of new blues records and another positive addition to World Music Network’s ongoing The Rough Guide To… series of compilations.
The Rough Guide to Delta Blues Volume 2, the latest blues compilation from World Music Network, is another positive offering from the record label that blues fans across the board will enjoy. The record’s success comes in large part through its featured musical content. That is because of the picture that the arrangements paint and the history that they present in themselves. The liner notes that accompany the record’s content add their own appeal to the whole because they add even more history to the presentation. The production of the record once again makes the collection just as enjoyable in its general effect as any vinyl record. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the compilation. All things considered they make the set one more welcome offering for blues fans from World Music Network’s ongoing The Rough Guide To… series of compilations.
The Rough Guide to Delta Blues Volume 2 is available now. More information on this and other titles from World Music Network is available online at:
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