Various Artists, Sunday Nights: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough (Fat Possum)

Blues guitarist David “Junior” Kimbrough might have been a late bloomer as a recording artist (he released his first album, produced by blues historian Robert Palmer, at the age of 62), but he had a long and storied career as a man who could throw a party. The Sunday night throwdowns at his Holly Springs, Mississippi juke joint were as legendary as his innovative guitar style would become. So even though the album cover itself notes that “the world doesn’t need another tribute record,” this raucous gathering of rock ‘n’ rollers is the most fitting possible tribute for Kimbrough, who died in 1998—both for his wide-ranging musical influence and his proven ability to bring folks together. Some of the standout tracks are the ones that take the most extensive departures from Kimbrough’s originals—progressive trance-rockers Spiritualized turn “Sad Days Lonely Nights” into a dissonant, elongated fuzzfest, and experimental indie duo the Fiery Furnaces craft an urgent, almost nerve-wracking “I’m Leaving.” More than a few cuts can be filed away as uninspired, blues-rock filler, but there are definitely enough gold nuggets to make the panning worthwhile, including Fat Possum labelmates Thee Shams’ harp-heavy, trashy ’60s-style rave-up version of “Release Me” and Jack Oblivian’s wrenching, wistful vocal acrobatics on “I Fell In Love With You.” The real gem, though, is Iggy and the Stooges’ grinding, deranged double take on “You Better Run,” the two versions of which bookend the album, turning the understated sexual menace of Kimbrough’s original into an all-out assault.