1. Willie Dixon – I Am The Blues
Well, with a title like that this was either going to be a great album or a laughing stock. Of course, in Willie Dixon’s case such a claim seems like understatement instead of hyperbole. The man wrote too many top class tunes than is healthy for one individual. This album features a collection of songs written by Dixon, but that were made famous by other artists. His thumping upright playing is a masterclass in blues bass and his gritty vocals sit on top, pinching the band between him. If you only listen to one blues album for the bass playing it has to be this.
2. Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble – In Step
With newfound sobriety and sense of purpose, this album saw SRV and Double Trouble on top form, with some of their strongest material to date. Tommy Shannon shows exactly why he is one of the premier blues bassists of all time, with a deep pocket and tighter than a nun’s proverbial sense of groove. This is modern blues at its very best, and it’s easy to see why this band were responsible for the revival of the genre.
3. Albert King – Born Under A Bad Sign
This album from 1967 is one of the most influential in history. Southpaw Albert King has gone down as one of the all-time great blues guitarists, and on this album he’s ably backed by the equally legendary Duck Dunn. All the backing was by the infamous Booker T. & The M.G.’s, and Duck turns in his usual powerful but simple lines which manage to make you tap your foot and also shake your head wondering, ‘Why the hell didn’t I think of that…?’