Classic Blues Albums

Written by Ross Woods


Choosing a set of classic albums is a very personal thing, something where there’s no right and wrong. I chose these albums with a few different things in mind. Some of them are personal favourites, some are representative of an important style, some of them have heavily influenced popular music, and some are all three!

Almost all the music was recorded before 1970 – there’s plenty of great blues recorded since, but I can’t cover everything! I’ve chosen albums that feature individual artists, and a few compilations.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the LP only became popular in the 1950s, and before then almost all music was released as singles on 78rpm. Albums of pre-1950s music are virtually all compilations; the ones I suggest below are just examples, and others can be just as good.

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Blues Musicians | Rufus Herbertson

Rufus

Rufus at Octoblues 2015

If you’ve ever danced blues in Southern Germany, chances are you’ll have been lucky enough to have danced to music played by the incredibly talented Rufus Herbertson, a blues musician from Mannheim.

My first encounter with Rufus was when I travelled to France for Blues in Paris, November 2014. He was playing alongside Annette Kuhnle who was teaching classes on styles of dancing to Piedmont Blues music.

Taking classes with a musician playing live is something quite special and his musicianship was very special too. Rufus also played an intimate acoustic set at the Sunday night party. We loved his music so much he had to perform two encores before we’d let him go.

More recently I was lucky enough to renew our acquaintance when Rufus came to play at Octoblues (Heidelberg, Germany). He played a late Saturday night set for us that was just beautiful. He coaxed a roomful of very tired dancers back onto the floor, and kept us long after we hoped to be asleep in our beds. His instinct for when to liven things up and keep us awake, and when to play quieter, dream-like music was just amazing.

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