junior wells

Best Blues of All Time – The Critics’ Picks

[Note: This list is compiled from 10 ‘best blues’ lists I found in books, magazines and websites. The number on the far left indicates how many of the original source lists contained each particular recording. This list is in chronological order based on the date the music was recorded.]

Lists       Artist      Album     Recording Dates
2 Bessie Smith The Collection 1923-1933
Bessie Smith The Essential Bessie Smith 1923-1933
2 Ma Rainey Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 1924-1928
3 Blind Blake Ragtime Guitar’s Foremost Fingerpicker 1926-1929
2 Blind Lemon Jefferson King of the Country Blues 1926-1929
2 Various Artists The Roots of Robert Johnson 1926-1936
2 Various Artists Masters of the Delta Blues: The Friends of Charlie Patton 1926-1936
3 Blind Willie Johnson The Complete Blind Willie Johnson 1927-1934
2 Praise God I’m Satisfied 1927-1934
2 Cannon’s Jug Stompers The Best Of Cannon’s Jug Stompers 1927-1930
2 Lonnie Johnson Steppin’ on the Blues 1927-1932
4 Mississippi John Hurt Avalon Blues: Complete 1928 Recordings 1928
2 Tommy Johnson Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order 1928-1929
2 Tampa Red The Guitar Wizard 1928-1934
2 Scrapper Blackwell The Virtuoso Guitar of Scrapper Blackwell 1928-1935
3 Blind Willie McTell The Definitive Blind Willie McTell 1929-1933
3 Memphis Minnie Bumble Bee: Essential Recordings of Memphis Minnie 1929-1941
2 Charley Patton Founder of the Delta Blues 1929-1934
2 Kokomo Arnold Complete Recorded Works Vol. 1 (1930-1935) 1930-1935
4 Skip James The Complete Early Recordings Of Skip James – 1930 1931
2 Leadbelly King Of The 12-String Guitar 1935
5 Robert Johnson King Of The Delta Blues 1936, 1937
3 Robert Johnson The Complete Recordings 1936, 1937
3 Bukka White The Complete Bukka White 1937, 1940
2 John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (I) The Bluebird Recordings 1937-1938
2 Son House Delta Blues: The Original Library of Congress Sessions 1941-1942
2 Big Maceo Merriweather The Best of Big Maceo: King of Chicago Blues Piano 1941-1947
2 Lightnin’ Hopkins The Gold Star Sessions 1946-1949
2 Mojo Hand: The Lightnin’ Hopkins Anthology 1946-1974
4 John Lee Hooker The Legendary Modern Recordings 1948-1954 1948-1954
2 John Lee Hooker The Ultimate Collection 1948-1990
3 Muddy Waters The Best of Muddy Waters (Chess) 1948-1954
2 Professor Longhair Fess: The Professor Longhair Anthology 1949-1980
3 T-Bone Walker The Complete Imperial Recordings: 1950-1954 1950-1954
3 Jimmy Rogers Chicago Bound 1950-1959
2 Percy Mayfield Memory Pain 1950-1955
2 Willie Dixon The Chess Box 1950-1970
5 Howlin’ Wolf Moanin’ In The Moonlight 1951-1959
2 Howlin’ Wolf His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary Collection 1951-1964
2 Howlin’ Wolf The Chess Box 1951-1973
5 Elmore James The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James 1951-1961
3 B.B. King Singin’ The Blues/The Blues 1951-1958
3 Sonny Boy Williamson (II) King Biscuit Time 1951-1965
2 J.B. Lenoir His J.O.B. Recordings 1951-1954
5 Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown The Original Peacock Recordings 1952-1959
3 Little Walter His Best: Chess 50th Anniversary Collection 1952-1963
2 Big Maybelle The Complete Okeh Sessions, 1952-1955 1952-1955
2 Elmore James Let’s Cut It: The Very Best of Elmore James 1952-1956
2 Big Mama Thornton Hound Dog/The Peacock Recordings 1952-1957
2 Bobby “Blue” Bland I Pity the Fool: The Duke Recordings, Vol. 1 1952-1960
2 Little Walter The Essential Little Walter 1952-1963
4 Guitar Slim Sufferin’ Mind 1953-1955
2 Guitar Slim The Things That I Used To Do 1953-1956
2 Jimmy Reed Big Boss Man: The Best of Jimmy Reed 1953-1963
3 Lightnin’ Hopkins The Herald Recordings 1954 1954
2 Albert King The Ultimate Collection 1954-1984
5 T-Bone Walker T-Bone Blues 1955-1957
3 Sonny Boy Williamson (II) Down and Out Blues 1955-1958
Sonny Boy Williamson (II) The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson 1955-1963
2 Sonny Boy Williamson (II) His Best (Chess) 1955-1964
2 Lightnin’ Slim Rooster Blues 1955-1960
3 Big Joe Turner The Boss of the Blues 1956
3 Otis Rush The Classic Cobra Recordings: 1956-1958 1956-1958
2 Big Bill Broonzy Trouble In Mind 1956-1957
2 Bobby “Blue” Bland Two Steps From The Blues 1956-1960
2 Freddie King Hide Away: The Best of Freddie King 1956-1970
2 The Reverend Gary Davis Pure Religion & Bad Company 1957
2 Sonny Boy Williamson (II) The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues 1957, 1960-1964
2 Buddy Guy The Very Best of Buddy Guy (Rhino) 1957-1981
2 Champion Jack Dupree Blues from the Gutter 1958
5 Howlin’ Wolf Howlin’ Wolf 1959-1962
2 Memphis Slim At The Gate Of Horn 1959
2 Bobby “Blue” Bland The Voice: Duke Recordings 1959-69 1959-1969
4 Muddy Waters At Newport 1960 1960
2 Otis Spann Otis Spann is the Blues 1960
2 Elmore James Blues After Hours 1960
2 Koko Taylor What It Takes/The Chess Years 1960-1971
2 Scrapper Blackwell Mr. Scrapper’s Blues 1961
2 Freddie King Just Pickin’ 1961, 1965
3 Little Milton Greatest Hits 1962-1983
2 B.B. King His Definitive Greatest Hits 1962-1998
2 The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones 1964
2 Robert Nighthawk Live on Maxwell Street 1964
2 Robert Nighthawk and Houston Stackhouse Masters of Modern Blues 1964, 1967
8 Junior Wells Hoodoo Man Blues 1965
5 Son House Father Of The Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Recordings 1965
5 The Paul Butterfield Blues Band The Paul Butterfield Blues Band 1965
3 B.B. King Live at the Regal 1965
3 Big Mama Thornton Ball N’ Chain (Arhoolie) 1965-1968
4 John Mayall Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton 1966
6 Albert King Born Under A Bad Sign 1966-1967
4 Albert King King of The Blues Guitar 1966-1968
3 Skip James Today! 1966
2 B.B. King Blues Is King 1966
2 Paul Butterfield Blues Band East-West 1966
2 Various Artists Chicago/The Blues Today/Vol. 1-3 1966
8 Magic Sam West Side Soul 1967
4 Charlie Musselwhite Stand Back! Here Comes C. M.’s South Side Blues Band 1967
2 Johnny Winter Progressive Blues Experiment 1967
3 Magic Sam Black Magic 1968
2 Skip James Devil Got My Woman 1968
2 Albert King Live Wire/Blues Power 1968
2 Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson Old Kidney Stew Is Fine 1969
2 Mississippi Fred McDowell I Do Not Play No Rock and Roll 1969
2 Junior Wells Southside Blues Jam 1969-1970
2 Willie Dixon I Am The Blues 1970
2 Buddy Guy I Was Walking Through the Woods 1970
2 John Lee Hooker & Canned Heat Hooker & Heat 1970
2 B.B. King Indianola Mississippi Seeds 1970
4 Hound Dog Taylor Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers 1971
3 Otis Rush Right Place, Wrong Time 1971
2 James Cotton 100% Cotton 1974
2 Hound Dog Taylor Beware Of The Dog 1974
2 Koko Taylor I Got What It Takes 1975
4 Muddy Waters Hard Again 1977
5 Albert Collins Ice Pickin’ 1978
2 Professor Longhair Crawfish Fiesta 1979
3 Buddy Guy Stone Crazy 1981
3 Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood 1982
4 Collins/Cray/Copeland Showdown 1985
2 Johnny Copeland Bringing It All Back Home 1985
4 Robert Cray Strong Persuader 1986
2 Albert Collins Cold Snap 1986
2 Johnny Winter 3rd Degree 1986
2 John Lee Hooker The Healer 1989
4 R.L. Burnside Too Bad Jim 1992
3 Various Artists Deep Blues: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack 1992
2 Junior Kimbrough All Night Long 1992
2 Junior Kimbrough Sad Days, Lonely Nights 1993
2 Eric Clapton From The Cradle 1994
2 Alvin Youngblood Hart Territory 1998
2 Corey Harris Greens From The Garden 1999

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