Various Artists: Bar Room Blues (2004)
Compilations assembled from several recent releases by a given record company serve the important role of exposing the said label’s talent roster to the public in as efficient manner as possible. Telarc Blues has taken the practice to the next level by assembling their collections with a theme. The label displayed its sense of humor with the 2002 release of This is What We Call The Blues Vol. 420 as a takeoff on the ever popular NOW (That’s What I Call Music) series. Telarc had also previously released the compilations From Matrimony to Alimony: Blues for Good Love Gone Bad (Telarc Blues, 2002), A Salute to the Delta Blues Masters (Telarc Blues, 2002), and In The Pocket—A Taste of Blues Harmonica (Telarc Blues, 2002).
The label has returned with a more thematic collection entitled Bar Room Blues—A 12-Track Program. All of the songs included address drinking: before, during, and after. The collection draws from releases between 1994 and 2002. While not as strong a release as This is What We Call The Blues, it nevertheless has its provocative moments.
Highlights of this disc include Tommy Castro’s ripping contribution of "Rip This Joint" to the Stones homage Exile on Blues Street , Troy Turner’s best Stevie Ray Vaughan on his "Later Than You Think" from 1999’s Blues on My Back, and the Tab Benoit/Kenny Neal duet on Willie Nelson’s "Nightlife" from Homesick for the Road. These are the songs able to compete with "Nice and Warm" or "Hell and High Water" from This is What We Call The Blues. For a photograph of the state of the blues, Bar Room Blues is a grand place to start, but check out the others as they have much to offer also.
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Track Listing: Rip This Joint