This is no mere publishing sampler. "The Classic Originals" gathers 36 of the very best blues and early rock n' roll singles cut at the legendary Chess studios in Chicago, and it provides the perfect introduction to men like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and numerous other recording artists from the 50s and 60s.
And these are not just the obvious choices that any compiler with an ounce of insight could have made. There are numerous lesser-known songs here which are just as magnificent as "Hoochie Coochie Man" or "Johnny B. Goode", like Elmore James' gritty, slide guitar driven "Madison Blues", Willie Mabon's swinging "The Seventh Son", or pianist Eddie Boyd's slow blues "24 Hours".
Howlin' Wolf is represented by four of his best songs, including the thundering steam engine "Killing Floor", one of the very best blues singles ever issued, and other highlights include Memphis Slim's stately "Mother Earth", the classic "Walking By Myself" by Jimmy Rogers, and Chuck Berry's rollicking "Roll Over Beethoven".
But this is all highlights, really, and while this well-annotated double-disc retrospective doesn't deliver the definitive word on any of the artists included, it provides the very best place for newcomers or "mid-level" fans to get better acquainted with the best and most succesful blues label of the post-war years.
I really can't praise this compilation enough. Get it right away, and enrich your life!