There are numerous collections of blues recordings on the market—some of them quite good—but the new 12-CD compilation Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues, The Definitive Collection! 1939-2005 from Bear Family Records may just be the best yet.
Compiled and annotated by celebrated blues historian Bill Dahl, the set is broken into four boxes containing three CDs, each including a 160-plus-page booklet boasting extensive notes and an abundance of photos.
Artists include nearly all of the heavyweights from T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, and Lightnin' Hopkins to Robert Cray, Rory Gallagher, and Stevie Ray Vaughan—but there are also lots of less-known and even obscure artists included along the way.
Detailed information and a full track listing for Volume 1 1939-1954 is here.
Detailed information and a full track listing for Volume 2 1954-1967 is here.
Detailed information and a full track listing for Volume 3 1960-1969 is here.
Detailed information and a full track listing for Volume 4 1970-2005 is here.
And here's a video describing the set:
That should be more than enough electric blues for diehard enthusiasts and newcomers alike. —BC
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