Returning to the "whatever happened to?" department for a moment are former Humble Pie guitarist Clem Clempson with a bluesy rendition of "I've Got News For You," former Jethro Tull guitarist Mick Abrahams with "The Same Way," and former Uriah Heep keyboardist Ken Hensley (who also turns in some nice slide guitar) on Robert Johnson's "Hellhound On My Trail." Volume 3 of This Is The Blues closes with Jeff Beck turning in his always stunning guitar work, backed here by the Kingdom Choir on a gospel rave-up of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."
The fourth volume of the series kicks off with more fine slide work from former Stones' guitarist Mick Taylor on the blues-shuffle "This Is Hip." The Pretty Things (anybody remember them?) contribute another standout with a version of "Judgment Day" that rocks more than just about any other track found on these two discs. British blues shouter Maggie Bell (who, like the Pretty Things, is another largely forgotten alumnus of Led Zeppelin's Swan Song label) also shows she's still got it on "Blind Man," tastefully backed by guitarist Big Jim Sullivan.
On one of the more curious tracks here, Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson delivers a very folky, very British sounding take on Green's "Man Of The World," complete with his signature flute. It sounds fine and all, but also kind of stands out like a sore thumb amongst all the bluesier fare otherwise found here.
Equally strange is original British wildman Arthur "I Am The God Of Hellfire" Brown's avant blues/jazz/metal rendering of Green's "The Green Manalishi." Brown's vocal sounds far closer to Judas Priest's Rob Halford's version than it does to Green's original — but I still like it. A lot, actually.
It's primarily due to the strange, but interesting placement of more eclectic sounding tracks like those by Brown and Anderson (amongst the more straightforward blues and rock offerings found here) that I can heartily recommend these latest two volumes of This Is The Blues.
It's also nice to see such strong performances from all these largely forgotten guys from bands like Humble Pie, Uriah Heep and Ten Years After. They've mostly all still got it even after all these years too.