Home Read Various Artists | Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 Vol. 1 & 2

Various Artists | Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 Vol. 1 & 2

Woodstock, shmoodstock: Here's the coolest festival you never even heard about.

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WHO ARE THEY? A who’s who of great bluesmen (and women) — including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Son House, T-Bone Walker, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Mama Thornton, Junior Walker, Otis Rush and plenty more.

WHAT IS THIS? A two-volume collection of insanely great (and previously unreleased) live recordings from the landmark event, lovingly refurbished for the 50th anniversary and released by Jack White’s Third Man Records.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The blues, the whole blues, and nothing but the blues. On a more practical technical and sonic level, it sounds pretty incredible for a mono recording made on 1/4″ tape half a century ago.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? The Best Blues Album That You’ve Never Heard — And That’s Pretty Much Guaranteed to Be Nominated For a Grammy.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On your way to or from whatever music festival you’re attending — as long as you understand you can’t possibly see anything as great as this.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Historical, authentic, nostalgic, raucous, powerful, raw, star-studded, mischievous, swaggering, gritty.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? It’s a solid sender from stem to stern — but some of the many standouts include Howlin’ Wolf’s epic stroll through Hard Luck, Roosevelt Sykes’ suggestive Dirty Mother For You, Muddy Waters’ muscular Long Distance Call, Magic Sam’s barnburning I Feel So Good (I Wanna Boogie), Lightnin’ Hopkins shuffling Mojo Hand and Son House’s haunting Death Letter Blues.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Woodstock, shmoodstock. It’s a damn shame nobody was filming this.”

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? If you’re a blues fan, get ready to meet your new addiction.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A FAMILY MEMBER, WHAT FAMILY MEMBER WOULD IT BE? A long-lost relative that you didn’t even know existed, and turns out to be the coolest person you’ve ever met.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Without this, your music collection is woefully incomplete.