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 Songs | Going Down Slow

LegendsIf you’ve been blues-dancing for a little while, you’ll almost certainly have danced to some version of ‘Going Down Slow’.

One of the things DJs do to find new music is by listening to covers. We love to surprise dancers by playing less familiar versions of well-known songs, especially ‘blues standards’.

I started my search for Goin’ Down Slow on Spotify and YouTube a few months back. I found myself listening more closely to the lyrics and became curious to learn where the song came from and how it travelled and changed over time.

Listening to this one song through the decades allowed me to hear subtle changes of instrumentation and vocal emphasis. It’s a perfect example of how a ‘blues standard’ can be interpreted and arranged in different ways, depending on when, where and by whom it was recorded.

Here’s my playlist if you’d like to listen along.

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