As was the case with the first two installments of this series (both were released last month), the third and fourth volumes of Eagle Records' This Is The Blues bring together the cream of the original British blues/rock crop. Jeff Beck, Mick Taylor, Jack Bruce and members of several classic rock bands most popular in the sixties and seventies — groups like Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Humble Pie and Foghat — are among those who pay tribute here to the blues.
Like the previous two volumes of the series, these two discs also lean heavily on the work of blues legends like John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon, as well as that of one of British blues/rock's own in original Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green.
So this is really more of a classic rock treatment of the blues than the more authentic experience many blues purists might be seeking. That's the disclaimer. Even so, as evidenced by the many fine live concert videos this label is best known for (by many of the same artists represented here), nobody does classic blues/rock quite like Eagle Rock. They have once again done a fine job here.
The thirty songs heard over these two discs are all drawn from a series of tribute recordings produced by Peter Brown that include Clarksdale to Heaven: Remembering John Lee Hooker and Rattlesnake Guitar: The Music Of Peter Green. This somewhat explains the curious inclusion of the British guitar great being celebrated in the same company as American blues legends like Hooker.
With that said, there's a lot of really great music to be found here. Peter Green himself kicks things off by invoking the dark growl of John Lee Hooker's "Crawlin' King Snake," followed in short order by a version of Green's "If You Be My Baby" featuring Foghat's Lonesome Dave Peverett and Rod Price, as well as New Jersey's own Southside Johnny Lyon on mouth harp.
From there comes something of a "whatever happened to?" moment as the original rhythm section of Ten Years After — bassist Leo Lyons and drummer Ric Lee — back up vocalist/guitarist Vince Converse on a tasty version of Hooker's "Bad Like Jesse James." Blues guitar whiz Gary Moore and Cream bassist Jack Bruce likewise collaborate on a slowly simmering version of Hooker's "Serves You Right To Suffer."
For Peter Green's "Showbiz Blues" (which is said to have been inspired by the notoriously reclusive guitarist's disdain towards the music business), Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher picks up the bluesy pace by letting things rip a bit more with both his guitar and vocal.