I bought a set of two CDs today, a compilation of blues tunes called The Blues: The Gold Collection, forty songs in all. This is abnormal for me. I rarely by CDs at all anymore, and I never buy compilation sets, especially when the compilation is drawing mostly from albums that I already own, but this is a special set for me, because it was my first real introduction to the blues, which has between then and now become my favourite musical genre. My mother bought the compilation when I was in my early teens, at which point my experience with the blues had been limited to what you might expect, a little Howlin’ Wolf and a little Muddy Waters and a little B. B. King, but this compilation introduced me to a much wider variety of blues artists, from Mississippi John Hurt to Leadbelly to Robert Johnson to Lightnin’ Hopkins. I fell in love with these musicians, and I began buying their albums whenever I had a few dollars to spare from buying books.
So, when I saw that compilation set again today, sitting in a bin at the thrift store, it seemed infinitely worth its two dollar price, even if the jewel case was a bit beaten and the liner notes had a cup ring on them. Those two CDs were where a love affair began, and I could hardly leave them to be orphaned, so I decided to give them a good home. We have already been reminiscing, so let us share with you also: