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Chess Blues Classics, 1957–1967 — Various Artists

  • MCA/Chess

By 1957, Chess Records had become the undisputed king of blues labels, routinely churning out classic tracks by the Waters, Little Walter, Wolf, and Williamson crowd, along with towering sides by newcomers such as Buddy Guy, Little Milton, and Koko Taylor. Together these artists expressed the various shades of modern blues, using rough-edged guitars, a bobbing backbeat, aching harps and vocal deliveries that recall the field holler in one breath and urbanity in another. Whether it was Muddy Waters' making Willie Dixon's “You Shook Me” his own, or Little Walter belting out the Big Bill Broonzy standard “Key to the Highway,” blues in the late '50s and '60s rarely sounded more vital.

— Robert Santelli

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