Alligator Records is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year and as it has in past years, compiled, 40th Anniversary Collection, a two-CD compilation of 38 recordings from the label since it released Genuine Houserockin’ Music by Hound Dog Taylor, which label founder Bruce Iglauer says is the mantra that still governs the label, although he notes the label no longer just records blues, even if the artists are deeply rooted in the blues tradition.
Given the diversity of contents and the purpose of the CD it is not my intent to review the contents here. I suspect folks will find selections they don’t like and others they think are timeless. Besides celebrating Alligator Records, this compilation will hopefully introduce some of the artists and recordings that some may be unfamiliar with whether it is some vintage Koko Taylor and Albert Collins, or more contemporary acts like Michael Burks, Tommy Castro and Anders Osborne. There is a selection from the Grammy Award winning collaboration between Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland and Robert Cray as well as William Clarke’s reworking of Jimmy Witherspoon’s Daddy Pinnochio along with selections from current recordings by Roomful of Blues and Marcia Ball.
For each selection, Bruce includes comments on the artist and the particular recording, and at the booklet’s end he notes some of those performers he could not include which is a mini Blues Who Who in itself. I remember Bruce driving out to Buffalo in the mid-seventies in the middle of a snow storm trying to promote this young guitarist and singer by the name of Son Seals, and while he now has employees, he still is heavily involved at Alligator. The 40th Anniversary Collection is a vibrant celebration of the impressive (and still growing) body of Alligator Records and Bruce Iglauer
Alligator Records sent me my review copy.