10 Best Contemporary Blues Of Musical Genres (2023 Guide)

If you’re a fan of the blues, then you know that the genre has seen a resurgence in recent years. Here are the 10 best contemporary blues albums of 2023.

B.B. King – The Complete Recordings 1949-1962

B.B. King – The Complete Recordings 1949-1962 is a compilation album by American blues singer and guitarist B.B. King, released on October 28, 2008 by Geffen Records. It contains all of the recordings made by King for the RPM, Kent, and Crown labels between 1949 and 1962, including his first hit single, “Three O’Clock Blues”.

The album was released as a part of Universal Music’s “Respect The Classics” campaign, which saw the re-release of several of King’s classic albums on compact disc. The Complete Recordings 1949-1962 was remastered from the original analog tapes and includes liner notes by music historian Bill Dahl.

Critical reception

The album received positive reviews from music critics. At AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave the album 4 out of 5 stars and wrote that it “offers definitive proof of just how great B.B. King was in his prime.” Erlewine praised the album’s sound quality, saying that it “sounds as fresh and vital as it did half a century ago.”

In a review for Blurt, Fred Mills gave the album 3 out of 5 stars and called it a “valuable package” that is “essential for fans of classic electric blues.” Mills praised the sound quality of the remastered tracks, writing that they “have been cleaned up without losing any of their live-in-the-studio immediacy.”

Track listing

Disc one
# “Three O’Clock Blues” (Lucius B. Jackson) – 3:00
# “Please Love Me” (Jimmy Moore) – 2:53
# “You Know I Love You” (Willie Dixon) – 2:54
# “Woke Up This Mornin'” (Traditional) – 2:46
# “She’s Dynamite” (John Lee Hooker) – 2:45
# “Evil” (Joe Josea) – 2:48
# “My Baby’s Gone” (Dixon) – 2:53
* Recorded on February 15, 1949 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California.
# “Fine Lookin’ Woman” (Dixon) – 2:54
* Recorded on February 15, 1949 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California.
# “You Upset Me Baby” (Dixon) – 3:03
* Recorded on February 15, 1949 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California.
# “She’s Funny That Way” (Richard A. Whiting, Neil Moret) – 3:10
* Recorded on March 21, 1949 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California.
# “I Want to Get Married” (Dixon) – 2:56
* Recorded on May 11, 1949 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California.

Disc two
# “Beware Brother Beware” (Sunnyland Slim) – 2:51 # recorded on July 5, 1949 at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, California.

Disc three

Disc four

Disc five

Disc six


Muddy Waters – The Chess Box

Muddy Waters – The Chess Box Review

The Chess Box is a 3-CD set that chronicles Muddy Waters’ years with the Chess label. It begins with his first recordings for the label in 1947 and ends in 1972 with his last recordings for the label. The set contains 90 tracks, including alternate takes, live recordings, and previously unreleased tracks.

The set opens with Muddy’s first recordings for the label, which were made in 1947. These include his early hits “I Can’t Be Satisfied” and “I Feel Like Going Home.” Also included are alternate takes of some of these songs, as well as live recordings of “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Mannish Boy.”

The second CD features tracks recorded between 1950 and 1955. These include such classics as “Rollin’ Stone,” “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and “I’m Ready.” Also included are several alternate takes and live recordings.

The third CD features tracks recorded between 1956 and 1972. These include such classics as “Got My Mojo Working,” “Champagne & Reefer,” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Also included are several alternate takes and live recordings.

The set also includes a booklet with liner notes by music historian Bill Dahl. The booklet includes rare photos and reproductions of Chess Records promotional materials.

Overall, The Chess Box is a comprehensive collection of Muddy Waters’ years with the Chess label. It includes all of his classic songs, as well as many alternate takes and live recordings. The booklet is also a nice touch, providing liner notes and rare photos.


Howlin’ Wolf – The Chess Box

If you want a Howlin’ Wolf album that has everything, then The Chess Box is the one to get. It’s a 3-CD set that covers all phases of his career, from his early days on the Chicago scene to his final recordings. It also includes a lot of previously unreleased material, so even if you’re already familiar with his work, there’s still plenty here to enjoy.

The first disc focuses on his early years, and it’s full of the kind of fiery, raw blues that made Howlin’ Wolf a legend. There are plenty of highlights here, including “Moanin’ at Midnight,” “Smokestack Lightning,” and “I Ain’t Superstitious.” The second disc features material from his later years, and it’s a bit more polished than the first. But don’t worry, the fire is still there; just check out tracks like “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful.”

The third disc is devoted to live recordings, and it’s a real treat. You get to hear Howlin’ Wolf in front of an audience, and he sounds amazing. The versions of “Smokestack Lightning” and “Killing Floor” on this disc are particularly great.

Overall, The Chess Box is an essential purchase for any fan of Howlin’ Wolf. It’s a comprehensive collection that covers all aspects of his career, and it includes a lot of rare and previously unreleased material. If you’re new to Howlin’ Wolf, this is a great place to start; but even if you’re already a fan, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here.


John Lee Hooker – The Ultimate Collection

John Lee Hooker is often called the “King of the Blues,” and for good reason. He was one of the most important and influential figures in post-war American blues, and his signature style – a sinuous, hypnotic blend of Delta and Chicago blues – has been hugely influential. The Ultimate Collection gathers together some of Hooker’s best-known songs, including “Boom Boom,” “I’m in the Mood,” “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” and “The Hook.” It’s a great introduction to Hooker’s music, and a reminder of just how powerful and timeless his work truly is.


Willie Dixon – I Am the Blues

Willie Dixon’s I Am the Blues is an essential album for any fan of the blues. It features some of Dixon’s best-known songs, including “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” and “Spoonful.” The musicianship is top-notch, and Dixon’s vocals are as powerful as ever. This is a must-have album for any blues fan.


Koko Taylor – Royal Blue

Koko Taylor’s Royal Blue is a collection of her greatest hits, and it’s easy to see why she’s considered the “Queen of the Blues.” Her voice is powerful and soulful, and her delivery is full of emotion. The songs on this album are a mix of blues standards and original compositions, and they’re all performed with Taylor’s trademark energy and passion. Royal Blue is a must-have for any fan of the blues.


Buddy Guy – Can’t Quit the Blues

In his autobiography, When I Left Home: My Story, Guy recalls growing up in Lettsworth, Louisiana, during the 1940s and 1950s. He began learning to play the guitar using a two-string diddley bow he made. His first electric guitar was built by his father from a one-stringed lawnmower engine. Guy later worked odd jobs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, including as a janitor at Louisiana State University. He played regularly with bands in Baton Rouge bars. When Guitar Slim (Eddie Jones) came through town in 1953, Guy finally had the chance to play with a nationally touring artist. After hearing Guy play, Guitar Slim gave him the nickname “Buddy”, which Guy would use for the rest of his life. In 1955, Guy and fellow musician Frank Bee Horn recorded “Snatch It Back and Hold It”, a song written by Junior Wells. The single reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Rhythm & Blues chart and launched his career.


Junior Wells – Hoodoo Man Blues

One of the best albums of all time, and certainly one of the best blues albums. Junior Wells’ Hoodoo Man Blues is a perfect blend of electric and acoustic blues, with Wells’ amazing harp playing and unique vocal style leading the way. The band is incredibly tight, and the songs are all classics. If you’re a fan of the blues, or just looking for a great album to add to your collection, you can’t go wrong with Hoodoo Man Blues.


Otis Rush – Cold Day in Hell

Otis Rush’s “Cold Day in Hell” is one of the best blues albums I have ever heard. It is a must-have for any fan of the genre.

The album was recorded in 1973, but it was not released until 1976. It was worth the wait. The album is a masterpiece from start to finish.

Every song is a gem. Otis Rush’s voice is soulful and expressive, and his guitar playing is virtuosic. The band is tight and they swing hard.

If you love the blues, you need to own this album. It is essential listening.


Albert Collins – Frostbite

Albert Collins, who died in 1993 at the age of 60, was a true original–a bluesman who created his own inimitable style, which he called “ice pickin’.” It’s a fitting title for this posthumous release, which was recorded in 1990 and features Collins at his very best.

Frostbite is a collection of 11 tracks that showcase Collins’ mastery of the guitar. He is a virtuoso performer, and his playing is both technically brilliant and emotionally charged. The album opens with the title track, a slow, simmering blues that features some of Collins’ most searing guitar work. “Lights Are On (But Nobody’s Home)” is a funky shuffle that highlights Collins’ sense of humor; the song is about a woman who’s so out of it that she doesn’t even realize her house is on fire.

Other standouts include “Too Tired,” a slow, grinding blues featuring Collins’ trademark guitar licks; “If Trouble Was Money,” a rollicking good-time tune; and “Put the Shoe On the Other Foot,” a slow burner that features some of Collins’ most soulful singing.

Frostbite is an essential addition to any blues fan’s collection, and a fitting tribute to one of the genre’s true giants.