Various Artists, Confessin’ The Blues (BMG)

This is a 42-track blues anthology of material that became early influences on a certain British rock band. While the music here is outstanding, the premise of this collection is somewhat annoying. The Rolling Stones did not introduce the blues to white America. There were plenty of Brylcreemed, blue jeaned American kids diggin’ B.B. King, Slim Harpo and Muddy Waters well before the Brits recycled their music. Even in remote Southern Ontario, there were kids like me wearing out Rockin’ With Reed and Two Steps From The Blues before England’s Newest Hit Makers reached these shores. The bulk of these tracks justifiably came from Chicago’s Chess Records vault. One could argue that Little Walter is the centerpiece here as four of the songs are from his repertoire, including the demonic, chromatic driven “Blue and Lonesome.” Walter also blows up a storm on Muddy’s “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Other Chess artists include Wolf, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Dale Hawkins. Note that Hawkins and Walter are from Louisiana. Also tapped here are Buddy Guy, Slim Harpo and Lightnin’ Slim. Unfortunately, a feeble remake of Lightnin’s “Hoodoo Blues” made the cut here, not the gloomy original. Earliest recordings here are by Robert Johnson as the Stones covered “Love In Vain” during their prime. Interesting inclusions here are the two Eddie Taylor tracks, Little Johnny Taylor’s “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” (but not “Part Time Love”) and Boy Blue’s whiskey-fueled “Boogie Children.” Most blues veterans will already own most of this material, but it’s nice to have them collected in one place so not to root through your collection for hours. Confessin’ The Blues is a stellar listen on an iPod or for running errands in the Volvo.