Blues music started around the end of the 19 century in America, and it draws its roots from African musical traditions, African-American work songs and European-American folk music. We can say that blues signifies a sense of unity, hope and it was created by black slaves shoving their tough lives and incredible struggle.
If you are interested in the history of blues music, read this Wikipedia article where everything is explained.
But since then it came a long way and blues music is played by everybody, all around the planet. Also, jazz and rock and roll are derivatives of blues. So here we are going to try to present you a few of records that we think are worthy of your time, but there are many more blues artists, so feel free to explore.
7. Blue & Lonesome – The Rolling Stones
Label: UMGRI Interscope
This long awaited release from the blues giants was recorded in just three days, with co-producer Don Was at British Grove Studios in London. Here we have a fantastic album that shows that the Rolling Stones can still play pretty good.
Of course, this album is centered around good old blues riffs covering the old classics with lyrics about general things like women, loneliness, abandonment. The album is recorded in the studio live, without overdubs, and that is what is giving us that raw, organic, powerful feel.
Also, Mick Jagger was on top of his game with his vocals, and harmonica playing like he also did in the early days of the band. The riffs are great and guitar playing is tight, punchy and crisp with great overdriven solos. In the end, here you get a great band, with great skills enjoying themselves and playing some old classics.
If you want to hear more of their old classics, you should try The Best of The Rolling Stones. Click here and get it now!
6. Buddy’s Baddest: The Best Of Buddy Guy – Buddy Guy
Another legendary blues musician, and we have a great summary of his career, that inspired a lot of people around the planet. You get a good sense of Buddy Guy’s playing listening to this 14 tracks, that go for well over an hour.
Click here and read this Wikipedia article about Buddy Guy, the master of Chicago blues!
“You’re damn right I got the blues”, opens this album giving great blues feel and it sets the pace of the rest of the songs. On the song “Midnight Train” Buddy teams up with Jonny Lang where you can hear them trade solos. Also another iconic blues player Jeff Beck, tears up a song “Mustang Sally”.
On the song “Damn Right I Got The Blues” you can really get the feeling of Buddy Guy’s playing. And the song “It Feels Like Rain” is going to wrung your heart out. Overall this is simple a great blues album, with great playing, and also it can be a good introduction for somebody who is not that familiar with Buddy Guy.
5. Fire on the Floor – Beth Hart
Here we have a solid, quality work from an experienced musician with a career spanning for over 25 years. This Grammy nominated singer continues to release quality work, after her critically acclaimed 2015 album “Better Than Home”. This release is expanding from that bluesy sound to the more personal stories and feelings.
Get her first album, Better Than Home HERE which laid down the fundamentals of her future work.
This album is refreshing and healing after the emotionally tough period of recording “Better Than Home”. All twelve tracks were written by Hart, and the role of producer was given to Oliver Leiber. The album is pretty diverse, there is a little bit of everything.
There’s the hard-edged rock of “Fat Man”, the lively soul of “Let’s Get Together”, the twisty, playful jazz-infused “Coca Cola” and the salsa spring of “Baby Shot Me Down”.
All fine examples of the songwriting diversity and vocal finesse that she has in spades. But the album really stands out with the ballads “Love Is A Lie”, “Fire On The Floor”, “Good Day To Cry” and “No Place Like Home”. They really bring out the emotional content, and convey the feeling of the artist who’s written this great material.
4. Blues Of Desperation – Joe Bonamassa
Label: J&R Adventures
Joe Bonamassa represents a younger generation of blues players that are continuing the legacy of early blues musicians, combining them with modern elements. Bonamassa is famous for being a gearhead, and a monstrous player so this album is a real treat for the ears.
With this album, Joe Bonamassa confirms his reputation that he is, without a doubt, one of the best players at the moment, with great tone that just sucks you in from the start. It was recorded in only five days, in Nashville, and the producer was Kevin Shirley.
The album opens with the track “This Train”, with chugging rhythm, and an awesome slide guitar, and right after that we have the song “Mountain Climbing” with some heavy riffing. “No Good Place For The Lonely” is a heavy slow blues that incorporates some orchestral strings that would have been better off handled by Reese Wynans’ Hammond organ.
And also the first single is “Drive” that has a slightly laid back vibe to contrast the rest of the album. We can here some jazz on the track “Livin’ Easy” with truly phenomenal guitar playing, that shows us that Joe can play everything. You can pay attention to the track “How Deep This River Runs” with some rendition of Led Zeppelin. There are no reasons to skip this record from a monstrous player, we strongly recommend this album.
3. Midnight Highway – Quinn Sullivan
Pay attention to this 17-year-old wunderkind because he definitely has a long and bright career in front of him. Already he shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Derek Trucks, and many other renowned musicians. On this album he has a team of producers, he’s co-written 3 songs and a Beatles cover as well.
Click here and read more about this young and talented musician in this article by Monterey International.
His voice sounds good but the general feel is that is better suited for pop songs. His guitar playing is on a high level, but his songwriting is just developing and this is only a start. The best example of his songwriting is the song “Tell Me I’m Not Dreaming”, a nice, subtle pop song. On the song “Lifting Off” you can hear some funk influences.
As the highlight of this album, we put the cover of George Harrison song. You can check this album out, it is not going to leave you speechless, but it’s a nice set of songs from a young, and promising author.
2. A Fool To Care – Boz Scaggs
Label: 429 Records
This album by the artist called Boz Scaggs is recorded in Nashville’s Blackbird Studio, in short period of four days. These 12 songs are primarily covers that reflect various sources, the most prevalent among them being R&B and soul. This is a very strong album, all the songs stand on its own, and they are all a highlight of this record.
The opening, is a rendition of a Dorothy LaBostrie and McKinley Millet’s “Rich Woman”, full of energy and drive featuring horns. “Hell to Pay” sounds more alt-country and Americana than smooth soul, which is true likewise for the cover of the Band’s classic “Whispering Pines”, which Scaggs sings here with Lucinda Williams.
Everything sounds fresh, it is hard to believe that Scaggs is 70 years old. “I Want to See You” and “Last Tango on 16th Street”, are songs that are written by Scaggs friend Jack “Applejack” Walroth, and Scaggs vocals really shine there. Through the album you hear all these elements from R&B, soul, Latin music, and even jazz.
It seems that the artist had great fun making this album, and you can really hear that, so we would recommend this album for a nice and relaxing experience. Feel free to check it out via the Amazon link below!
1. Ultimate Santana – Santana
Another old school blues rock guitar legend. This collection of songs is a fair representation of Santana’s old and recent hits. Besides the classic hits here we also have collaborations with the likes of Chad Kroeger of Nickelback (“Into The Night”) and Alex Band of The Calling (“Why Don’t You & I”).
Of course, we must mention the “Soul Sacrifice” “Se Acabo” and “Jingo,” with unforgettable guitar work and crazy guitar solos. Santana is one of those players who are easily recognizable as soon you hear them. It is that sweet overdriven guitar tone that gives him away.
His songs are very dynamic, you feel a lot of space in them. He doesn’t make that mistake that a lot of players make when they try to overplay things. Instead, Santana lets the rhythm to build up and create a space for a mellow, crisp and almost surreal, guitar solo that completely takes the listener over and takes him away.
Of course there are obvious Latin influences all over this album. That’s the rhythm that drives the songs and gives them that relaxed, chilled, laid back feeling that takes the edge off.
Another highly recommended album by Santana is Supernatural, which you can check out HERE.
Santana is also hailed as a great live performer, you can check out his performance at Woodstock festival, you are in for a treat. Overall this is a great for every music enthusiast, especially for guitar lovers, because Santana is without a doubt one of the best out there, and this album proves that.
So we hope that you find this list useful, or that maybe you learned something new along the way. We strongly recommend that you explore the music taste, to suit your taste.