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|It's hard to believe that it's been 35 years since Hound Dog Taylor & TheHouseRockers came downtown to Chicago's Sound Studios to cut that very first Alligator album. There was no thought that this would be the beginning of what has become the most successful contemporary blues label in the world. My only goal was to record my favorite band, exactly as I had heard them in the South Side blues joints. I hoped to capture not just their music, but also some of their soul and spirit. That's been the mission of Alligator all along - to record blues and roots artists who need to be heard, and to make records that reflect those artists at their best.|
To tell the story of the label in 35 songs, we chose to focus on the Alligator debut recordings of some of our most exciting, important and enduring artists. A few of these artists had never recorded before coming to Alligator. Others came to the label to revitalize their careers, or to make their most personal recordings.
It was a tough job deciding which artists to include, because we knew we'd have to leave out so many. In 35 years, we've released over 2800 songs. We decided to focus on full album, single artist debuts, so our Living Chicago Blues series isn't represented here. Nor are our all-star summit meetings, Showdown!, Harp Attack! and Lone Star Shootout. Nor are many other very worthy recordings. And there are some years that are not represented, because our releases in those years were all by artists who had previous Alligator albums.
My thanks go to all the wonderful artists who have chosen to record for Alligator over the years. We've been truly blessed. I also want to thank the team who helped choose the songs - Bob DePugh, Tim Kolleth, Marc Lipkin and Kerry Peace - and to every member of the Alligator staff, past and present, whose efforts went into the success of the label.
Choosing these songs brought back a whole host of personal memories. I've tried to share some of them with you here.
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|After 35 years and the release of over 2800 contemporary blues tracks, it's safe to say that Bruce Iglauer's Alligator Records is the world's premier blues label, particularly if sheer numbers are factored in, and while the label's releases tend to sound mind-numbingly similar sometimes, this two-disc overview of Alligator's history shows how much raw vitality the blues still has in its tank. Alligator Records 35X35, arranged chronologically and featuring a selection drawn from each of the artist's debut albums with Alligator, gets rolling right where it all began, with Hound Dog Taylor's "She's Gone" from 1971, and marches through to 2004, closing the second disc with a stunning version of "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" (here called "A Dying Man's Plea") by the great Mavis Staples, who makes clear the deep affinity of gospel to the blues, or vice versa, since the two forms philosophically complete each other, the way Saturday marches straight into Sunday. In between these two tracks are a whole lot of barnburning moments, including the bayou blues of Lonnie Brooks on "Voodoo Daddy" from 1979, a selection from Professor Longhair's final session (1980's "In the Wee Wee Hours"), Lonnie Mack and Stevie Ray Vaughan trading guitar solos on "Satisfy Suzie" from 1985, and Roy Buchanan's jaw-dropping electric guitar intro to "When a Guitar Plays the Blues," also from 1985. There is variety here, too, with C.J. Chenier's zydeco blues romp "Bad Luck" from 1995, Corey Harris' acoustic slide guitar reenactment of Blind Willie Johnson's classic "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning" (also from 1995) and the Holmes Brothers' wonderful blend of gospel, blues, and R&B on "Speaking in Tongues" from 2001. All of this adds up to a completely satisfying set, and makes a fitting testament to Alligator's decades-long devotion to the preservation of the modern blues form. ~ Steve Leggett|
|Release Date : 04/04/2006|
|Original Release Date : 2006|
|Catalog ID : 2021|
|Label : Alligator Records|
|Number of Discs : 2|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00014551202127|
- "[T]he 35 artist featured here represent the blues in all its stylings and hues....The music is terrific."
- "Just pure, honest music...delivered with the kind of passion that bespeaks a commitment ot artistic values over dollar signs."