The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-1952

At four discs and nearly 100 tracks, this is the second installment of Rhythm and Blues Records' ambitious history of R&B, covering the years 1942 to 1952 (the first volume, also four discs, covered 1925 to 1942). Diverse and revelatory, it shows how R&B, like most strands of America's music, is woven from several different sources. Each installment is almost a history lesson in its own right, covering country blues, spirituals, jug bands, boogie-woogie piano, ragtime, jazz, urban blues, gospel, swing, boogie, jive, and so much more. It's all pretty impressive and its difficult to imagine any set doing a better job of tracing the roots of R&B. Where else could you find Louis Jordan's "Caldonia Boogie," Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Strange Things Happening Every Day," Nat King Cole's "Route 66," Elmore James' "Dust My Broom," Muddy Waters' "I Can't Be Satisfied," Sticks McGhee's "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee," and Ray Charles' "Misery in My Heart" all in the same package? And those sides just barely scratch the surface of what's collected here. ~ Steve Leggett

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