The late Rory Gallagher opens Volume Two with a haunting version of Green’s “Leaving Town Blues” that features Gallagher on vocals, guitar, and mandolin while Jack Bruce returns on bass and harmonica on a spirited romp through Cyril Davies' “Send For Me.” Green is honored again with Savoy Brown’s acoustic version of the classic “Stop Messin’ Round” and Green himself appears on guitar and vocals alongside Nigel Watson in an authentic Delta Blues take of Robert Johnson’s “Travelling Riverside Blues.” Southside Johnny’s fine vocals make “Baby When the Sun Goes Down” another highlight of disc two with horns that recall those on the old Stax records.
John Lee Hooker makes Jimi Hendrix’s “Red House” his own with an even heavier blues interpretation than its writer’s and backed by a blues super group featuring Booker T. Jones on keyboards and the late Bruce Gary on drums. Hooker’s playing and singing shine on the track. The CD finishes with Hooker’s appropriately titled “I’m Leaving,” which features T.S. McPhee on guitar and vocals and Dick Heckstall-Smith with some spirited saxophone playing.
While not all encompassing by any means, This is the Blues: Volume One and Volume Two offer not only a nice introduction to some legendary artists — most notably Peter Green and John Lee Hooker — but to the artists giving the tributes themselves, some well known, some not as much. As a primer for someone getting into the blues, this may make a new listener delve deeper into the genre and for that reason it is worth a look.