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Boomkat Product Review:
Billed as spanning 1925 to 1942, this compilation draws twenty-five tracks from the 4CD boxset The History Of Rhythm And Blues Volume One, providing a handy highlights package for anyone reluctant to go the whole hog. The earliest recordings here actually date back to 1927, including Blind Willie Johnson's 'It's Nobody's Fault But Mine' and Bessie Smith's 'Backwater Blues', taking in Robert Johnson, Cab Calloway & His Orchestra and Sonny Boy Williamson in the thirties, eventually arriving at the more developed sounds of Count Basie and T-Bone Walker. As with any compilation of this nature, to say it's heavily abridged would be something of an understatement, but there's an abundance of great tunes on here, and the selection takes in a commendably broad range of styles that would come under the rhythm & blues banner. You'll hear the wild a and frenzied gospel of Elder Otis Jones on 'Holy Mountain', the comparatively dignified shuffle of The Cats & The Fiddle's 'I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water', and the positively feral Austin Coleman, whose 'My Soul Is a Witness' gets the disc underway in a boisterous - even intimidating fashion.