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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Matchbox Days - Really! The English Country Blues - CD

The late-'60s British blues boom was dominated by electric blues-rock blues bands, yet there was also an active acoustic blues scene, though it made considerably less commercial impact. Record-wise, much of the activity centered around the Matchbox label, on which the bulk of the music on this 22-track compilation was originally released. Jo-Ann Kelly and Dave Kelly are the only names that might be remotely familiar to American listeners. There are also cuts by Wizz Jones, the Panama Limited Jug Band, Mike Cooper, and Ian Anderson (the Ian Anderson who now runs Folk Roots magazine, not the Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull), and others. White British blues sometimes takes quite a critical beating, but despite the fact that the guitar playing here is considerably more impressive than the singing, this is a perfectly respectable, very listenable compilation of an underappreciated facet of the British blues boom. The performances are sharp and committed, and there's a reasonable amount of variety, from the straight Delta blues derivations through the imaginative jug band revivalism of the Panama Limited Jug Band. Maybe you don't need many British '60s acoustic blues albums in your collection, but if you only want one, this would be a good choice. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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The late-'60s British blues boom was dominated by electric blues-rock blues bands, yet there was also an active acoustic blues scene, though it made considerably less commercial impact. Record-wise, much of the activity centered around the Matchbox label, on which the bulk of the music on this 22-track compilation was originally released. Jo-Ann Kelly and Dave Kelly are the only names that might be remotely familiar to American listeners. There are also cuts by Wizz Jones, the Panama Limited Jug Band, Mike Cooper, and Ian Anderson (the Ian Anderson who now runs Folk Roots magazine, not the Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull), and others. White British blues sometimes takes quite a critical beating, but despite the fact that the guitar playing here is considerably more impressive than the singing, this is a perfectly respectable, very listenable compilation of an underappreciated facet of the British blues boom. The performances are sharp and committed, and there's a reasonable amount of variety, from the straight Delta blues derivations through the imaginative jug band revivalism of the Panama Limited Jug Band. Maybe you don't need many British '60s acoustic blues albums in your collection, but if you only want one, this would be a good choice. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide

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