There is always a certain aesthetic in Putumayo CDs. These are usually 10 pieces of well-researched, sometimes rare, material from artists who have helped shape a style of music. Discs and digital downloads come with an informative multi-page booklet introducing the genre and each artist. In the case of Blues Cafe, Putumayo has put together these 10 tracks you can enjoy over a glass of fine wine and a conversation you don’t have to shout. It’s not rowdy music to pay the rent, but it all fits together so well that it practically slips from start to finish.
Most blues fans will instantly recognize names like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and James Cotton. Alabama cousins Slim and Little Freddie King’s collaboration on their 2007 recording “I Got the Blues,” which originally appeared on the nonprofit imprint of the Music Maker Foundation, is of interest to music aficionados. Louisiana blues. As Alabama Slim sings the title tagline, King showcases cool tones with his guitar playing.
While most of these names will probably be familiar to you, some may not be. “Good Morning Love” by French natives Arnaud Fradin & His Roots Combo ranks among the coolest with its lazy, unhurried walk. John Dee Holeman & The Waifs’ “Comin’ Home to You” needs no additives to fuel its deceptive acoustic groove. Given her pristine Piedmont picking style on “Going Down the Road”, North Carolina’s Algia Mae Hinton is another such find.
Past or present, with the blues you are never done exploring, but it certainly helps. What also helps is that a percentage of these proceeds will go to Music Maker, which provides financial support to senior blues musicians.