:Alligator Records 45th Anniversary CollectionYear Of Release
:FLAC (tracks+.cue,log)Total Time
:79:48 + 79:43Total Size
:Album PreviewTracklist:Disc 1
01. Lil' Ed And The Imperials - Hold That Train
02. Son Seals - Cotton Picking Blues
03. Shemekia Copeland - Devil's Hand
04. Elvin Bishop - Can't Even Do Wrong Right
05. Toronzo Cannon - Bad Contract
06. Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
07. Marcia Ball - The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man
08. Tommy Castro And The Painkellers - Common Ground
09. Carey & Lurrie Bell - The Road Is So Long
10. Koko Taylor - Voodoo Woman
11. Selwyn Birchwood - Don't Call No Ambulance
12. Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - Callin' All Fools
13. Joe Louis Walker - Too Drunk To Drive Drunk
14. Lee Rocker - Crazy When She Drinks
15. Moreland & Arbuckle - Take Me With You (When You Go)
16. Jimmy Johnson - Your Turn To Cry
17. Delbert McClinton - Givin' It Up For Your Love
18. Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers - Take Five
19. Anders Osborne - Let It Go
20. Mavis Staples - Will The Circle Be Unbroken Disc 2
01. James Cotton & Joe Bonnamassa - Cotton Mouth Man
02. Albert Collins - If Trouble Was Money
03. JJ Grey & Mofro - 99 Shades Of Crazy
04. Jarekus Singleton - I Refuse To Lose
05. Michael "Iron Man" Burks - Empty Promises
06. Roomful Of Blues - Turn It On, Turn It Up
07. Lazy Lester - Raining In My Heart
08. Johnny Winter - Shake Your Moneymaker
09. Curtis Salgado - Walk A Mile In My Blues
10. The Kentucky Headhunters With Johnnie Johnson - Stumblin'
11. Billy Boy Arnold - I Ain't Got You
12. Ann Rabson - Gonna Stop You From Giving Me The Blues
13. Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King - Freezer Burn
14. Guitar Shorty - I'm Gonna Leave You
15. A.C. Reed & Bonnie Raitt - She's Fine
16. Luther Allison - Will It Ever Change
17. The Holmes Brothers - Amazing Grace
On May 25 and June 2, 1971, the rawest, roughest-edged, most joyful blues band in Chicago recorded their first album. With the help of two fledgling producers, Bruce Iglauer and his friend Wesley Race, they cut multiple takes of twenty-five songs in two evenings, recorded live and mixed as they were being recorded. The album, issued in August of that year, was simply named after the band: Hound Dog Taylor And The HouseRockers, the first release from a brand new label called Alligator Records.
Alligator was a leap of faith, an underfinanced one-man operation run out of an efficiency apartment. It was launched with an album by a band virtually unknown outside the local bars where they played. The album captured the band's glorious racket and the vibrant, rocking spirit of the South and West Side Chicago blues clubs-simple neighborhood taverns in the city's black community where mostly Southern-born, working class people bonded together and sloughed off the frustrations of their day-to-day hard lives by listening and dancing to the honest, rhythmic, joyful and cathartic music they had grown up with-the blues. Two of the three members of the band-Hound Dog, a fifty-five-year-old former sharecropper and factory worker, and Brewer Phillips, a part-time construction worker, had come to Chicago from Mississippi looking for decent jobs. The third member, drummer Ted Harvey, a loading dock worker, came from the Windy City. They had no reputation, no booking agent or manager, and they were not creating music that sounded much like anything getting played on any form of commercial radio. Yet their unbridled energy, unfettered joy and raw soulfulness of their music somehow communicated to people all over the world, making them blues legends and making their debut recording a classic that continues to be discovered by legions of new fans.
Forty-five years later, Alligator Records, now with a catalog of almost three hundred albums, continues to be bound by the same philosophy that led to that first recording-that direct, unvarnished, straight-from-the-soul blues and blues-rooted music, the music we call "Genuine Houserockin' Music," speaks to some primal, necessary place in people's consciousness. We believe that our music, if delivered by charismatic, soul-stirring artists, and if publicized, promoted and marketed with unwavering energy, will find a worldwide audience, stand the test of time, and keep the label moving forward for years to come.
The first years of Alligator were dedicated to recording artists from Chicago's deep well of blues talent. Besides Hound Dog Taylor, the label released albums by Big Walter Horton, the then-unknown Son Seals, Fenton Robinson, Koko Taylor and Lonnie Brooks. In an effort to expose the wealth of Windy City artists, in 1978 and 1980 we released the six-LP (now four-CD) Living Chicago Blues set (and followed it with a single-album collection called The New Bluebloods in 1985 to introduce some of the newly-arisen Chicago talent).
Starting in 1978, Alligator began recording blues musicians from across the country. Established blues stars like Albert Collins, James Cotton, Gatemouth Brown, blues-rock guitar heroes like Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan and Lonnie Mack, and ‘next generation' artists like Kenny Neal, Tinsley Ellis and Little Charlie & The Nightcats all joined the Alligator family.
As the blues grew further from its Deep South roots, and the African-American audience turned to other forms of music, the large pool of musicians who had grown up in the blues tradition began to dry up. At the same time, a new generation of musicians, inspired by the blues but not part of the historic flow of blues, began to reshape the traditional elements to speak to contemporary audiences. Artists like JJ Grey, Anders Osborne, Jarekus Singleton, Selwyn Birchwood, and the newest Alligator family members, Toronzo Cannon and Moreland & Arbuckle, are defining blues and roots music for future decades.
The previous Alligator Anniversary Collections have been aimed at showing the complete span of the music we've recorded. For this collection, we have chosen to shine the spotlight somewhat more on the current artist roster and on those artists who are showing some of the directions Alligator will be heading in the future.
Over the last five years, since the release of Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Collection, we've lost too many members of the extended Alligator family, not only artists on the roster and those who had previously recorded for us, but also those who made memorable guest appearances on our releases. We will always miss Michael "Iron Man" Burks, Otis Clay, Michael Coleman, Popsy Dixon of the Holmes Brothers, Lacy Gibson, Wendell Holmes, Long John Hunter, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Magic Slim, Sista Monica Parker, Pinetop Perkins, Ann Rabson, Pete Special of Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows and Johnny Winter. We also pay special homage to The King Of The Blues, B.B. King, who graced us with a guest appearance on Alligator. This collection is dedicated to all of them.
No band epitomizes Alligator's rough and ready Genuine Houserockin' Music spirit more than Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials. Ed Williams and his half brother James "Pookie" Young learned to play and sing the blues under the tutelage of their uncle, Chicago slide guitar legend J.B. Hutto. Growing up on the city's West Side, they played music for fun while working day jobs-Ed in a car wash and Pookie driving a school bus. In the early 1980s, they formed the first incarnation of the Blues Imperials and began gigging in the West Side blues clubs. In 1986, they were picked to record a single song for our anthology of up-and-coming artists entitled The New Bluebloods. In a historic three-hour session, instead of recording one song, they cut thirty songs and earned a contract with the label. Over twenty-seven years ago, guitarist Michael Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton joined the band, and they've stayed together as a unit ever since. Their wild live performances and raw Chicago blues sound have made them a world-touring blues institution and winners of a Blues Music Award as Band Of The Year. They've cut eight Alligator albums. Hold That Train is from their 2008 release, Full Tilt.
Son Seals literally grew up in a juke joint, his father's Dipsy Doodle Club in Osceola, Arkansas. After drumming behind the legendary Robert Nighthawk, he switched to guitar as a teenager, developing his own sound and style, and eventually touring with Albert King and Earl Hooker. He had only been in Chicago a couple years when I first heard him filling in for Hound Dog Taylor at the Expressway Lounge, a little bar on the South Side. Totally unknown and unproven, he became Alligator's third signing, and in 1973 recorded his debut album, simply called The Son Seals Blues Band, which included Cotton Picking Blues. The album launched his career, and over the years his relentless guitar attack earned him the nickname "The Bad Axe." Son cut eight albums for Alligator before his death in 2004, each filled with his trademark no-holds-barred intensity. In 2009, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Shemekia Copeland grew up immersed in the blues. Born in Harlem, she is the daughter of legendary Texas bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland. By her early teens, she was opening shows for her father, traveling nationwide during her high school summer vacations and thrilling audiences with her powerhouse, soul-soaked voice. She signed with Alligator in 1998, when she was just eighteen. Since cutting her debut album, Shemekia's become the most honored female blues singer of her generation, a three-time Grammy nominee and winner of eight Blues Music Awards. Her latest album, 2015's Outskirts Of Love, includes her Afrobeat-flavored rendering of her father's composition, Devil's Hand.
Elvin Bishop fell in love with the blues as a teenager in Oklahoma. He earned a scholarship to the University of Chicago, but once he discovered the South Side blues scene, his college career evaporated and instead he spent his nights backing bluesmen like Little Smokey Smothers, Junior Wells and Hound Dog Taylor. He joined the The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, who became the first group to bring unadulterated Chicago blues to the young, white rock audience in the mid-1960s. Emigrating to the Bay Area, Elvin cut a series of good-time albums with his own band, mixing blues with country rock and his own off-kilter sense of humor. With his all-star bands and his happy-go-lucky presence, he's been a major name on the roots music scene for almost five decades. "Can't Even Do Wrong Right" is the title track from his 2015 album, his sixth Alligator release, which won a Blues Music Award as Album Of The Year.
Toronzo Cannon, one of the brightest lights on the current Chicago blues scene, is one of Alligator's most recent signings. Growing up a few blocks from the famed Theresa's Lounge, he was first exposed to the blues while hanging out outside the club, listening to Junior Wells and Buddy Guy's music drift out the door. Toronzo's intense vocals and searing guitar sounds were forged in the crucible of the ultra-competitive local clubs, where some of the best blues musicians in the world compete for gigs. After several years as a sideman, he's been leading his own band for almost fifteen years, performing his memorable original songs. He's played the Chicago Blues Festival nine times, and performed as far away as South Africa and Armenia. Bad Contract is from his 2016 label debut, The Chicago Way.
Grammy-winning Charlie Musselwhite is a venerated icon of blues harmonica. With a recording career beginning in the 1960s, he's developed an instantly recognizable, impossible-to-imitate harmonica sound, along with his personal conversational vocal style. Charlie grew up in a small town in Mississippi and then honed his sound in Memphis under the tutelage of Will Shade, harmonica player with the legendary Memphis Jug Band of the 1930s. Moving to Chicago in search of a good job, Charlie fell under the spell of undisputed harmonica master Big Walter Horton (the second artist to record for Alligator) and became a full-time bluesman. Within a few years, he cut his debut album and launched a career that's included recording over twenty-five albums, four released on Alligator. "The Well," a true story, was the title track of his 2010 album.
With her marvelous piano playing, her buoyant vocals and her warm stage presence, Marcia Ball had already won thousands of fans and cut eight albums before she joined the Alligator family in 2001. First gaining fame on the Austin, Texas music scene, Marcia created her signature Texas-Louisiana style under the influence of two New Orleans musical giants, Professor Longhair, the one-of-a-kind "rhumba blues" piano player (who recorded the last album of his career for Alligator) and vocalist Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans. Marcia tours constantly, and has played everywhere from Texas hole-in-the-wall clubs to the White House, while earning five Grammy nominations. Although Marcia was already an accomplished songwriter, after coming to Alligator she blossomed as a composer, eventually writing or co-writing every song on her albums. Her songs range from serious soul ballads to lighthearted, rollicking tunes like the title track of her 2014 release, The Tattooed Lady And The Alligator Man.
Tommy Castro is the ultimate road warrior. He's carried his blues, R&B and rock ‘n' roll from his Bay Area home all across the U.S., Canada and Europe, logging hundreds of thousands of highway miles. His dynamic live shows, catchy original songs, R&B-tinged voice and fiery guitar playing have earned him a huge and intensely loyal fan base. Starting as a sideman in local San Francisco bands, Tommy eventually earned a berth in The Dynatones, a hard-touring blues/rock party band. Forming the first version of the Tommy Castro Band in 1991, he became a Bay Area hero, releasing his first album in 1994. Since then, he's gone on to cut fourteen more albums, win six Blues Music Awards, and become the unofficial president of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruises. A few years ago, he formed The Painkillers, a stripped-down, four-piece band that puts the spotlight squarely on his voice, guitar and songwriting. Common Ground is the rocking everyman anthem from Tommy Castro & The Painkillers' 2015 album, Method To My Madness.
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