Top 20 Blues CD’s

by 90.9 FM KRCL “Red, White & Blues” host Brian Kelm

(Disclaimer - it should be noted that these are simply 20 of my favorite CD’s that came into KRCL and/or I otherwise came across.  There are simply too many good blues CD’s out there for me to buy them all up!  They are in chronological order by date, not by rating. Also, I am partial to electric blues but always include at least one acoustic CD!)

2018 - Top 20 Blues CD’s   (work in progress, subject to change throughout year’s end!)

  • Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager – Rough Cut (Alligator 1/12/18)
  • Peter Karp – Blue Flame (Rose Cottage 2/2/18)
  • Victor Wainwright and the Train – Self Titled (Ruf 3/9/18)
  • Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling – The High Cost of Low Living (Alligator 3/9/18)
  • Marcia Ball – Shine Bright (Alligator 4/20/18)
  • Mike Zito – First Class Life (Ruf 5/11/18)
  • Buddy Guy – The Blues Is Alive And Well (Silvertone RCA 6/15/18)
  • Bob Corritore & Friends – Don’t Let The Devil Ride! (SWMAF/VizzTone 6/22/18)
  • Damon Fowler – The Whiskey Bayou Session  (Whiskey Bayou 7/20/18)
  • Whitney Shay – A Woman Rules the World (Little Village Foundation 8/1/18)

??? Notables, in the running ???:

  • Johnny Tucker – Seven Day Blues (HighJohn    )
  • Bernard Allison – Let It Go (Ruf 2/2/18)
  • Breezy Rodio – Sometimes The Blues Got Me (Demark 2/16/18)
  • James Harman – Fineprint (Electro-Fi 3/16/18)
  • JP Soars – Southbound I-95 (Soars High Productions 5/31/18)
  • Deb Ryder – Enjoy the Ride (6/1/18 VizzTone)

2017 - Top 20 Blues CD’s

  • John Mayall – Talk About That (Forty Below Records 1/27/17)
  • Randy McQuay – My Kind Of Blues (Long Beach Entertainment  1/31/17)
  • Scott Ramminger – Do What Your Heart Says To (Arbor Lane Music 2/17/17)
  • Monster Mike Welch & Mike Ledbetter -  Right Place, Right Time (Delta Groove 4/21/17)
  • Taj Mahal & Keb Mo - TajMo  (Concord 5/5/17)
  • The Exciting Sounds of the Dylan Bishop Band (Espanada Records 5/9/17)
  • AJ Crawdaddy – Slow Cookin’ (Renown Records 5/31/17)
  • Travis “Moonchild” Haddix – See What I Want to See (Wann-Sonn 6/15/17)
  • Andy T Band – Double Strike (American Showplace Music 6/16/17)
  • Chris Cain – self titled (Little Village Foundation 6/23/17)
  • Cash Box Kings – Royal Mint (Alligator 6/30/17)
  • Altered Five Blues Band – Charmed & Dangerous (Blind Pig/Orchard 8/11/17)
  • Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – Groovin’ In Greaseland  (Alligator 8/18/17)
  • Peacemakers – Peacemakers (Self released 8/18/17)
  • Walter Trout – We’re All In This Together (Mascot Label Group/Provogue 8/25/17)
  • Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra – After a While (Little Village Foundation 9/15/17)
  • Kim Wilson – Blues and Boogie Vol 1 (Severn 10/20/17)
  • Casey Hensley - Live (VizzTone 10/20/17)
  • James Armstrong – Blues Been Good To Me (Catfish 10/20/17)
  • Samantha Fish – Belle of the West (Ruf 11/3/17)

2016 - Top 20 Blues CD's

  • Toronzo Cannon – The Chicago Way (Alligator 2/26/16) *
  • Corey Dennison Band – Self Titled (Delmark 3/18/16) **
  • Terrie Odabi – My Blue Soul (Self produced 4/12/16) ***
  • Mac Arnold and Plate Full O' Blues - Give It Away (Plantation #1 Productions 4/15/16)
  • Mike Wheeler Band – Turn Up!! (Delmark 4/19/16)
  • Paul Reddick - Ride The One (Stony Plain 5/20/16)
  • Nick Moss Band – From the Root To The Fruit (Blue Bella 5/20/16)  4*
  • Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore – House Party at Big Jon’s (Delta Groove 5/20/16)  5*
  • Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne - Jumpin & Boppin (Stony Plain 6/3/16)
  • Kenny Neal – Blood Line (Cleopatra 7/22/16)  6*
  • Dennis Gruenling – Ready or Not (VizzTone 7/22/16)
  • Michael Burks – I’m a Bluesman (Iron Man Music 7/30/16)  7*
  • Annika Chambers – Wild & Free (UTR Music Group 8/26/16)  8*
  • Bobby Rush – Porcupine Meat (Rounder 9/16/16)  9*
  • Vaneese Thomas – The Long Journey Home (Segue 9/16/16)  10*
  • Thornetta Davis – Honest Woman (Sweet Mama Music 9/23/16)  11*
  • Knickerbocker All-Stars – Texas Rhody Blues (JP Cadillac Records 10/4/16)
  • Sugar Ray and the Bluetones – Seeing Is Believing (Severn 10/7/16)  12*
  • Rory Block - Keepin' Outta Trouble: A Tribute To Bukka White (Stony Plain 11/18/16)
  • Benny & the Flybyniters – Watch Yourself (Rhythm Bomb 11/25/16)
  • The following were nominated for 2017 BMA’s (announced 1/9/17):
  • *Album; Contemporary Blues Album; Contemporary Blues Male Artist; Song (Gotta Walk It Off)
  • ** Best Emerging Artist Album
  • ***Best Emerging Artist Album; Soul Blues Female Artist
  • 4* Album; Band; Contemporary Blues Album
  • 5* Trad Blues Album
  • 6* Album; Contemporary Blues Album; Contemporary Blues Male Artist
  • 7* Historical Album (actually recorded in 1998 but just released this year!)
  • 8* Koko Taylor Award (Trad Blues Female Artist)
  • 9* Album; Soul Blues Album; Soul Blues Male Artist
  • 10* Soul Blues Female Artist
  • 11* Song (I Gotta Sang The Blues)
  • 12* Wow, 10 nominations!...Album; BB King Entertainer; Song (Seeing Is Believing); Trad Blues Album; Trad Blues Male Artist; Band; Instrumentatalist-Harmonica; Guitar (Monster Mike Welch); Bass (Michael “Mudcat” Grant); Pinetop Perkins Piano (Anthony Geraci)

2015 - Top 20 Blues CD's

  • Brad Absher & Swamp Royale – Lucky Dog (Montrose 1/13/15)
  • Mike Henderson Band – If You Think It’s Hot Here…. (EllerSoul 1/20/15)
  • Igor Prado Band – Way Down South (Delta Groove 2/17/15)
  • Harrison Kennedy – This Is From Here (Electro-Fi  2/17/15)
  • Joe Bonamassa - Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks  (J&R Adventures 3/23/15)
  • Deb Ryder – Let It Rain (Delta Groove 4/21/15)
  • James Harman – Bonetime (Electro-Fi 4/21/15)
  • Cash Box Kings – Holding Court (Blind Pig 4/28/15)
  • Johnny Tanner – Juke Joint Rambler (Self 5/5/15)
  • Sugaray Rayford – Southside (Delta Groove 5/19/15)  [Amazing soul blues]
  • Wee Willie Walker - If Nothing Ever Changes (Little Village Foundation 6/8/15) [Amazing soul blues too!]
  • Omar Coleman – Born and Raised (Delmark 6/16/15)
  • Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters – Father’s Day (Stony Plain 7/17/15)
  • Chris James & Patrick Rynn – Trouble Don’t Last (VizzTone 8/21/15)
  • Jimmy Burns – It Ain’t Right (Delmark 8/21/15)
  • Andy T Nick Nixon Band –  Numbers Man (Blind Pig 8/28/15)
  • Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love (Alligator  9/11/15)
  • Knickerbocker All-Stars – Go Back Home to the Blues (JP Cadillac Records 10/6/15)
  • Eugene Hideaway Bridges  - Hold On a Little Bit Longer (Armadillo 10/30/15)
  • Jonn Del Toro Richardson – Tengo Blues (Vizztone 11/27/15)

2014 - Top Blues 20 CD's

  • Tinsley Ellis – Midnight Blue (Heartfixer Music 1/14/14) 
  • Tommy Castro – The Devil You Know (Alligator 1/21/14)
  • Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues – Blues Shock (Blind Pig 1/21/14)
  • Annika Chambers & the Houston Allstars – Making My Mark (Montrose 1/14/14)  *** Wow!!!!
  • Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown – Goin’ to the Delta (Ruf 2/11/14)
  • James Armstrong – Guitar Angels (Catfood 2/18/14)
  • Nick Moss Band – Time Ain’t Free (Blue Bella Records 3/18/14)
  • Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado – Too Many Roads (Ruf 5/13/14)
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Goin’ Home (Concord 5/19/14)
  • Walter Trout – The Blues Came Callin’ (Provogue 6/10/14)
  • Mannish Boys – Wrapped Up and Ready (Delta Groove 6/17/14)
  • Alexis P. Suter Band – Love the Way You Roll (American Showplace Music 8/12/14)
  • Elvin Bishop - Can’t Even Do Wrong Right (Alligator Records 8/19/14)
  • Johnny Winter – Step Back (Megaforce Records 9/2/14)
  • JP Soars – Full Moon Night In Memphis (Soars High Productions  9/18/14)
  • Duke Robillard – Calling All Blues!  (Stony Plain Records 9/23/14)
  • Billy Boy Arnold – The Blues Soul Of (Stony Plain 10/21/14)
  • Nathan James – Hear Me Calling & Natural Born This Way (Self  10/28/14)
  • Altered Five Blues Band – Cryin’ Mercy (Omnivide Records 10/28/14)
  • Eric Bibb – Blues People (Stony Plain 11/4/14)  ACOUSTIC

2013 - Top 20 Blues CD's

  • Andy T – Nick Nixon Band – Drink Drank Drunk (Delta Groove 2/19/13)
  • Long Tall Deb – Raise Your Hands (Self 3/5/13)
  • Cash Box Kings -  Black Toppin’  (Blind Pig 3/12/13)
  • Southern Hospitality – Easy Livin’ (Blind Pig 3/12/13)
  • Joe Bonamassa – An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House (J&R Adventures 3/26/13)
  • Chris Antonik – Better for You (Self 3/26/13)
  • Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters – Just for Today (Stony Plain 4/9/13)
  • Ana Popovic – Can You Stand the Heat (Ruf 4/16/13)
  • Anthony Gomes - …Before the Beginning (Up to Zero Entertainment 4/30/13)
  • James Cotton – Cotton Mouth Man (Alligator 5/7/13)
  • Ruff Kutt Blues Band – That’s When the Blues Begins (Vizztone 5/14/13)
  • David Egan – self titled (self produced 6/4/13)
  • Mike Zito – Gone to Texas (6/11/13 Ruf)
  • RB Stone – Loosen Up! (Middle Mountain Music 6/18/13)
  • Too Slim & the Taildraggers – Blue Heart (Underworld Records 6/18/13)
  • Paul Gabriel – What’s the Chance (Swinging Stone 6/18/13)
  • Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings – Kingsville Jukin’ (Delmark 6/25/13)
  • Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues (RCA 7/30/13)
  • Sugaray Rayford – Dangerous (Delta Groove  9/17/13)
  • Bill Blue – Mojolation (Warmfuzz.com  10/14/13)
  • Alternates/Honorable Mentions:
  • Andrew Jr. Boy Jones – I Know What Its Like (technically this was released in late Dec. 2012 by 43rd Big Idea Records but I didn’t get it until early 2013!!)
  • Connie Hawkins and the Blues Wreckers – Wired Up and Fired Up (Little Red Records 5/1/13)
  • Candye Kane feat. Laura Chavez – Coming Out Swingin’ (Vizztone 6/25/13)
  • Andre Bisson – Bad Scene (Self 8/13)
  • Jonn Del Toro Richardson & Sean Carney – Drivin’ Me Wild (Self 9/7/13)
  • Billy Thompson – Friend (Soul Stew 9/20/13)
  • Johnny Rawls – Remembering O.V. (10/15/13 Catfood)

2012 - Top 20 Blues CD's

  • Mannish Boys – Double Dynamite (Delta Groove 5/15/12)
  • Mary Bridget Davies – Wanna Feel Somethin (Self 1/17/12)
  • Nathan James & the Rhythm Scratchers – What You Make of It (Delta Groove 3/20/12)
  • Teresa James and the Rhythm Tramps – Come On Home (Burnside 8-23-12)
  • Janiva Magness – Stronger for It (Alligator 3/13/12)
  • Eddie Martin with His Big Blues Band (& special guest Pee Wee Ellis) – Looking Forward Looking Back (Blueblood 6/18/12)
  • Walter Trout – Blues for Modern Daze (Provogue 5/1/12)
  • Paul Mark & the Van Dorens - Smartest Man In The Room (Radiation Records 5/22/12)
  • Rick Estrin & the Nightcats – One Wrong Turn (Alligator 7/3/12)
  • Lisa Mann - Satisfied (self 2/14/12)
  • Chris O’Leary Band – Waiting For the Phone to Ring (Vizztone 6/26/12)
  • Paula Harris – Turning On The Naughty (Self 6/29/12)
  • Ian Siegal & the Mississippi Mudbloods – Candy Store Kid (Nugene 10/15/12)
  • Shemekia Copeland – 33 1/3 (Telarc 9/25/12)
  • Thorbjorn Risager – Dust & Scratches (Cope Records 1/16/12)
  • Michael Burks – Show of Strength (Alligator 8/21/12)
  • Stina Stenerud & Her Soul Replacement – Coming Home (Hunters Records 9/12/12)
  • Daddy Mack Blues Band – Pay the Piper (Inside Sounds 3/6/12)
  • Meena – Try Me (Ruf 7/10/12)
  • John Lee Hooker Jr.  – All Hooked Up (Steppin Stone Records 9/18/12)

2011 - Top 20 Blues CD's

  • Too Slim & the Taildraggers - Shiver (Underworld)
  • EG Kight - Lip Service (Vizztone)
  • Carlos Del Junco & the Blues Mongrels - Mongrel Mash (Idie Europe/Zoom)
  • Big Joe & the Dynaflows - You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down (Severn)
  • Cash Box Kings - Holler and Stomp (Blind Pig)
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator (Sony)
  • Trampled Under Foot - Wrong Side of the Blues (Vizztone)
  • JP Soars - More Bees with Honey (Soars High Productions)
  • Ian Siegal and the Youngest Sons - The Skinny (Nugene)
  • Damon Fowler - Devil Got His Way (Blind Pig)
  • Tab Benoit - Medicine (Telarc)
  • Brick Fields - Gospel Blue (self)
  • Terry Hanck - Look Out! (Delta Groove)
  • Candye Kane - Sister Vagabond (Delta Groove)
  • Quintus McCormick - Put It On Me (Delmark)
  • Greg Allman – Low Country Blues (Rounder)
  • Elvin Bishop’s Hell Raisin Revue – Live on the LRBC (Delta Groove)
  • Tommy Castro – The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue (Alligator)
  • Sena Ehrhardt – Leave the Light On (Blind Pig)
  • Etta James – The Dreamer (Verve Forecast)
  • Roomful of Blues – Hook Line & Sinker (Alligator)
  • Ruff Kutt Blues Band – Mill Block Blues (Katy Mae Productions)
  • Chicago Blues: A Living History, The (R) Evolution Continues (Raisin Music)

2010 - Top 12 Blues CD's

  • Mark Hummel - Retro-Active (Electro Fi)
  • Charlie Musselwhite - The Well (Alligator)
  • Kenny Neal - Hooked On Your Love  (Blind Pig)
  • Buddy Guy - Living Proof (Silvertone)
  • Derek Trucks - Roadsongs (Sony Masterworks)
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd - Live! In Chicago (Roadrunner)
  • Eden Brent - Aint Got No Troubles (Yellow Dog)
  • Studebaker John - That’s the Way You Do (Delmark)
  • Teeny Tucker - Keep the Blues Alive (TeBo Records)
  • John Nemeth – Name the Day (Blind Pig)
  • Jimmie Vaughan – Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites (Shout! Factory Records)
  • Joanne Shaw Taylor – Diamonds in the Dirt (Ruf)

2009 - Top 10 Blues CD's

  • Tommy Castro - Hard Believer (Alligator)
  • Shemekia Copeland - Never Going Back (Telarc)
  • Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters - Living in the Light (Stony Plain Records)
  • Rick Estrin & the Nightcats - Twisted (Alligator)
  • John Nemeth - Love Me Tonight (Blind Pig)
  • Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers - Soul Monster (Delta Groove)
  • Duke Robillard - Stomp!  The Blues Tonight (Stony Plain Records)
  • Derek Trucks - Already Free (Sony/Victor)
  • Buckwheat Zydeco - Lay Your Burden Down (Alligator)
  • Kelley Hunt - Mercy (88 Records)

2008 - Top 10 Blues CD's

  • Skin Deep – Buddy Guy (Silvertone)
  • Just Between Us - Clarence Spady (Severn)
  • Kenny Neal - Let Life Flow (Blind Pig)
  • Maestro – Taj Mahal (Head’s Up International)
  • Clean Getaway - Curtis Salgado (Shanachie)
  • West Side Strut - Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater (Alligator)
  • Pay Me No Mind - Homemade Jamz Blues Band  (Northern Blues)
  • Back to the River - Susan Tedeschi  (Verve)
  • Earl Thomas with Paddy Milner & the Big Sounds (self produced)
  • Overnight Sensation - Jackie Payne & Steve Edmonson (Delta Groove)

2007 - Top 10 Blues CD's

  • Coco Montoya – Dirty Deal (Alligator)
  • Koko Taylor – Old School (Alligator)
  • Larry McCray - Self Titled (Magnolia)
  • Tommy Castro - Painkiller (Blind Pig)
  • John Nemeth - Magic Touch (Blind Pig)
  • Omar Kent Dykes & Jimmy Vaughn - Down the Jimmy Reed Highway (Ruf)
  • Phillip Walker - Going Back Home (Delta Groove)
  • Mannish Boys - Big Plans (Delta Groove)
  • Duke Robillard - Duke Robillard's World Full of Blues (Stony Plain)
  • Eric Bibb - An Evening With (MC Records)  Gotta include an acoustic CD and this 1 is worthy!
  • Honorable Mention (because this is previously released material, but newly issued in 2007):
  • Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration  (Stax)
  • The Essential Magic Slim (Blind Pig)
  • Muddy Waters/James Cotton/Johnny Winter - Breakin' It Up & Breakin' It Down (Sony - Epic/Legacy)