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Various Artists: 100 Years Of The Blues (Universal)

Mike Atherton, Echoes, February 2012

BLUES HAS BEEN an integral part of popular music for decades, and this new 4CD set celebrates its birth, its growth and its ever-widening influence. It’s not really a centenary issue: W.C. Handy first noted hearing a musician playing recognisable blues in 1903, and the first blues recording was not made until 1920. But this year marks the centenary of the birth of Robert Johnson, arguably the most seminal blues performer ever, and certainly a name known to large sections of the public, so 1911’s as good a place as any to start.

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