The 100 Greatest Blues Albums

The 100 Greatest Blues Albums

We’ve set ourselves another, almost, impossible challenge. This time it’s to come up with a definitive list of the 100 Greatest Blues Albums…ever. As usual we haven’t just dreamed up this list, we have trawled the net, looked through numerous magazines and books to try to get a consensus as to what the 100 should be.

Well, have we succeeded? We are surprised by the breadth of the blues, as well as the sheer number of different blues styles that are represented here. There’s the jazz end of the blues, the folk-blues, blues rock, straight forward, honest to goodness, down home blues, Chicago Blues, British Blues, Country Blues as well as White men playing the Blues

Most fans of the blues recognise that it is something that is as often as not best played live and there are some cracking ‘in concert’ performances. There’s Lightnin’ Hopkins, Cream, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, The Allman Brothers, Jimmy Reed along with Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, which gives you an idea of the scope of this list.

There are albums that everyone acknowledges as master works – Robert Johnson’s King of The Delta Blues Singers, Junior Wells’s Hoodoo Man Blues, Albert King’s Born Under a Bad Sign and Magic Sam’s West Side Soul. Then there’s some albums that you may not know, like Blind Mississippi Morris’s Back Porch Blues, Koerner, Ray & Glover‘s, Blues, Rags and Hollers and Tampa Red’s Don't Tampa With the Blues; they are all equally worthy of inclusion.

We have given you the list alphabetically, having given up trying to do 100 down to #1. Suffice to say, every album here should be in any discerning Blues fan’s collection. How many do you have? And just as importantly, what have we missed?

Albert Collins Ice Pickin
Albert Collins, Robert Cray & Johnny Copeland Showdown!
Albert King Born Under a Bad Sign
Albert King King of The Blues Guitar
Alexis Korner's Blues incorporated R&B From The Marquee
Aretha Franklin The Delta meets Detroit: Aretha's Blues
B.B. King Singin' The Blues
B.B. King Live At Cook County Jail
B.B. King Live at the Regal
Bessie Smith The Complete Recordings, Vol. 1
Big Bill Broonzy The Big Bill Broonzy Story
Billie Holiday Songs For Distingue Lovers
Blind Blake Ragtime Guitar's Foremost Fingerpicker
Blind Lemon Jefferson The Folk Blues of Blind Lemon Jefferson
Blind Mississippi Morris Back Porch Blues
Blind Willie Johnson The Complete Blind Willie Johnson
Blind Willie McTell The Definitive Blind Willie McTell
Bo Diddley His Best
Bobby 'Blue' Bland The Voice (Duke Recordings 1959-69)
Bonnie Raitt Give It Up
Buddy Guy I Was Walking Through the Woods
Canned Heat Boogie with Canned Heat
Champion Jack Dupree Blues from the Gutter
Charley Musselwhite Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's South Side Band
Charley Patton Complete Recordings: 1929-1934
Chris Barber Good Morning Blues
Chuck Berry One dozen Berrys
Clarence Gatemoth Brown The Original Peacock Recordings
Cream Wheels of Fire
Derek and The Dominos Layla, And Other Assorted Love Songs
Dinah Washington Sings Bessie Smith
Elmore James The Sky is Crying
Eric Clapton From The Cradle
Etta James At Last
Fleetwood Mac Mr Wonderful
Frank Frost Jelly Roll King
Freddie King Let's Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King
Free Tons of Sobs
Gary Moore Still Got The blues
Guitar Slim Sufferin' Mind
Guy Davis Butt Naked Free
Hound Dog Taylor Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers
Howlin Wolf Howlin Wolf
Howlin' Wolf Moanin at Midnight
James Cotton Superharps
Jimmy Reed Jimmy Reed at Carnegie Hall
Jimmy Rogers Chicago Bound
John Lee Hooker Alternative Boogie: Early Studio Recordings 1948 – 1952
John Lee Hoooker House of the Blues
John Mayall Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton
John Mayall Crusade
Johnny Winter Second Winter
Jonny Lang Lie to Me
Josh White Free & Equal Blues
Junior Wells's Chicago Blues Band Hoodoo Man Blues
Keb' Mo' Keb' Mo'
Koerner, Ray & Glover Blues, Rags and Hollers
Larry Johnson Blues From Harlem
Lead Belly King of the 12 String Guitar
Leroy Carr Hurry Down Sunshine
Lightnin' Hopkins The Swarthmore Concert
Lightnin' Hopkins Lightnin' Hopkins
Little Brother Montgomery Chicago - The Living Legends
Little Milton Greatest Hits
Little Walter His Best
Lonnie Johnson The Essential
Lowell Fulson Blues Masters
Ma Rainey Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
Magic Sam West Side soul
Memphis Minnie Bumble Bee: The Essential Recordings of Memphis Minnie
Memphis Slim Blues Great
Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper
Mississippi Fred McDowell I Do Not Play No Rock and Roll
Mississippi John Hurt Avalon Blues The Compltee 1928 Okeh recordings
Mose Allison Back Country suite
Muddy Waters Muddy waters at Newport 1969
Muddy Waters The Folk Singer
Nina Simone Sings the Blues
Otis Rush Otis Rush, 1956–1958: His Cobra Recordings
Paul Butterfield Blues Band The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Paul Butterfield Blues Band East-West
R.L. Burnside Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
Robben Ford & The Blue Line Handful of the Blues
Robert Cray Strong Persauder
Robert Johnson King of the Delta Blues Singers
Rory Galalgher Irish Tour
Skip James The Complete Early recordings
Skip James Today
Son House Father of the Delta Blues
Son House and others Son House & The Great Delta Blues Singers
Sonny Boy Williamson The Real Folk Blues
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee The Folkways Years 1944-1965
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble Texas Flood
T-Bone Walker T-Bone Blues
T-Bone Walker The Complete Imperial Recordings
Taj Mahal Taj Mahal
Tampa Red Don't Tampa With the Blues
The Allman Brothers At Filmore East
The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones (UK debut album)
Tuts Washington New Orleans Piano Professor

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307 comments

  1. Bert Ruisch

    Too bad that you only looked at US and UK blues greats.
    There are 4 albums by Dutch Bluesbands that I would ad to the list:
    Desolation and Groeten uit Grolloo by Cuby & Blizzards
    Hell’s Session and Wang Dang Doodle by Livin’ Blues.
    You might wanna check them on Spotify or iTunes.
    Bert

      1. Harmonica Slim

        This list has too many blues inspired classic rock bands on it. Allman Brothers, Cream, Derek and the Domino’s, and The Rolling Stones shouldn’t even be mentioned here. They are not blues bands, no matter how hard they try. You are missing greats like Slim Harpo, Rod Piazza, George Harmonica Smith, William Clarke, Willie Dixon (wrote like half of the songs on all of the other old school Chicago blues singers’ albums too), Robert Nighthawk, James Harman, Ronnie Earl (best living blues guitar player because Joe Bonamassa is not a true blues guitar player as far as I’m concerned), Carey Bell, Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Steve Guyger, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim Wilson, and a slew of others. Its near impossible to get all of them, but you need to take the classic rock bands off and replace them with real blues players like the ones listed above.

          1. Mike Hardy

            Listen to the Stones 1st 4 LPs,Rolling Stones After Muddy Waters.When they tour they sit in with blues bands after the gig .Listen to Mick Jagger & the Red Devils all lil walter&Willie Dixon,Howlin Wolf

        1. Ray

          Strictly speaking, Harmonica Slim may be correct about several blues-inspired bands appearing on a blues-exclusive list. However, let’s not forget the blues was all but forgotten until musicians like Eric, Duane, Mick and Keith among others revived the genre. Blues musicians and writers who are now household names were driving buses or working odd jobs in many cases…..they could not get a gig. Bands like Cream, Allman’s and Stones restored many blues originators fortunes and fame by crediting their accomplishments. Few people had heard of Robert Johnson prior to the 1960’s. Chances are most of us would not even be aware enough to discuss, much less compile, a list of great blues albums if not for guys like John Mayall

        2. Josef O Luain

          100% correct Harmonica Slim. It’s not about hip snobbery, it’s straightforward common sense. Cream were Cream, by no stretch of the imagination, can they be called a blues band.

          1. bill edwards

            If not for rolling stones early blues albums not the rock stuff I only learn later on that type of music was blues, Also the animals, yardbirds and canned heat promoted the blues as pop music.

      2. Patrick Longworth

        Canadian blues artists are missing here! The Powder Blues Band, Jeff Healey, Colin James, Randy Bachman (known for rock and jazz, yes, but he teamed up with Jeff Healey too) and others I cannot name. Maybe you did research but you seem biased to American and English whites as well as universally recognized blues artists!

      3. Patrick Longworth

        I am thinking that udiscovermusic is not living up to its name but being arrogant in essentially pushing the idea that blues is English-American. It originated somewhere, found a place in America, became known in England, Canada too I would argue and perhaps many other places. I am prepared to ignore your future posts if you continue with American and English biases and continue ignoring Canada and other countries.

      4. Patrick Longworth

        You might want to re-evaluate your stance on Stevie Ray Vaughan too. Whatever his best technical album might be, I believe it was “In Step” that brought Stevie further to the attention of music lovers, not just blues lovers. It is one of my favourites of his, Family Style being another, but there is his live music too where we really see his genius unfiltered by record producers etc.

    1. Kaj Hobroh

      Hi Bert.
      I used to have (in the early 1970:ies) an album
      with Dutch band Living Blues.
      The title of the album was :
      “Rocking at the Tweed Mill.”
      Black and white photographs. ‘Great Album!!!!!
      Im a bit sad that I dont have it anymore.
      I also remember that the guitarist played a
      black Gibson Les Paul Custom.
      “The Blues Forever!!”
      Have a Good Bluesdigging Life , Bert!!!!
      .
      Kaj <3 :-D

    2. dan

      Endless Boogie, John Lee Hooker. With, ” Standing at the Crossroads “, ” Like a Sheep Out on the Foam “, Doin’ the Shout “, etc. This has got to be on the list.

    3. Winifred Wiltens

      I totally agree that these 2 Dutch bands should be added to the list! The albums Desolation and Hell’s Session would be my first choice (probably because I had these records myself and played them endlessly….).
      Anyway: thanks for your comment!
      Winifred

    4. Dave Tothill

      I would add Tripping Thru a Midnight Blues by Cuby and The Blizzards myself Bert I do love Desolation and Groeten uit Grolloo by Cuby & Blizzards
      Hell’s Session and Wang Dang Doodle by Livin’ Blues.
      As a Englishman I very rarely meet other Cuby & The Blizzard Fans here.
      However I’m really disapointed in the 28 CD Box Set just released of Cuby.

    5. Bassman Bob

      And one shouldn’t ignore Canada’s Downchild (a.k.a. Downchild Blues Band) who have been entertaining folks with awesome foot-stompin’ blues for some 45 years. They’re a big favourite in our house.

    6. jeff lanius

      Muddy Waters The London Sessions. Muddy Waters They Call Me Muddy Waters. Memphis Slim Lonesome. Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee Blowin’ the Fuses. John Lee Hooker Jr. Live at Soledad Prison. Johnny Winter First Winter. Canned Heat/John Lee Hooker Hooker and Heat.

    7. John Shreve

      In SF I met a girl from The Netherlands in maybe ’70 or ’71. We went to Tower Records on Columbus Ave. and she recommended a Cuby disc. Excellent. Thank you, Wanda.

  2. Nolan weidner

    Pretty decent list – one huge omission in my opinion — Willie Dixon’s ‘I Am the Blues’ is easily one of the finest blues albums ever recorded.

    1. uDiscover

      We agonised over Big Willie, because he appears on very few lists. We consoled ourselves with the fact that he composed so many tunes that are all over these albums

      1. jpgeesaman

        The Groundhogs’ “Split” is one of the best unknown albums of all time, easily. I’m not sure if it’d fit on a best blues list though… definitely rooted in the blues, but more rock oriented (although their cover of “Groundhog” on that album is spot on).

      1. Bob C

        I thought the same thing. ZZ Top’s First Album was as bluesy as any of the mentioned albums. Also Jeff Beck’ TRUTH……..Robin Trower Bridge Of Sighs……Ten Years After-A Space In Time………….Fabulous Thunderbirds Butt Rockin…………The Stones Get Your Ya Ya’s Out…..Ray Charles -The Genius Sings The Blues…….and pretty sure it’s blaspemy not to have Peter Green-Jimi Hendrix-Janis Joplin-George Thorogood or Big Mamma Thornton on a blues list somehow
        some way

  3. Al Farber

    Joe Bonamassa is said by nearly all of the guitar, blues, and rock music magazines to be the best living blues guitarist and should be on the list (he is much better than Johnny Lang, a contemporary who is on the list). John Hammond, Jr. is one of the best Delta guitarists ever…right up there with the old guys like Robert Johnson and Son House.

    1. Bennie King

      JB is a blues hack who can only play fast but has very little feel or soul. He’s more of a Rock Band. As far as best living guitarist, not sure if anyone tops Derek Trucks right now.

      1. Dan

        A blues hack? Well, I respect that you are entitled to your opinion, but I wonder if you have heard him play live? And I do believe the late, great BB King would disagree with you…

      1. Markk

        lol about Joe…so true. I think he’s sincere and tries hard, but being a great guitarist (technically) does not make you a great bluesman. Its all about the space between the notes…just ask BB (RIP)

    1. John McCarthy

      Your point is well taken. The omission of Luther Allison must be corrected, perhaps his “Serious ” disc or the Where Have You Been” disc. Maybe Mose Allison could be dropped, or one of the BB Kings albums.

  4. Phil Grabar

    I was happy to see Al Kooper mentioned, but it’s too bad that a band he was a member of – the Blues Project – featuring a great blues guitarist, Danny Kalb, wasn’t included.

    1. Gary Hoffman

      I agree. Their recording “Projections” still holds up well although possibly not among the Top 100. Two other greats of that vintage: Love Sculpture’s Blues Helping (with Dave Edmunds)
      and The Charles Ford Band (Robben and his brothers) on Arhoolie

  5. cynde

    Good to see Lonnie Johnson here. Have you heard his Blues and Ballads album with Elmer Snowden? I cant imagine how anything could be better that this one

  6. Bruce Fisher

    You missed a real gem……..Robert Nighthawk ”Live on Maxwell Street 1964”. Blue’s music as raw, down and dirty as it get’s!!! Excellent recording with a superb interview of Nighthawk by Michael Bloomfield!

  7. Geoff

    Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter —- Hard Again — Incredible!
    The Charles Ford Band —- The Charles Ford Band-(with Robbin Ford at his best) – Amazing!
    Kenny Wayne Shepherd — Ledbetter Heights — Awesome!
    Duke Robilliard — Dukes Blues — Delightfull!
    Monster Mike Welch — Axe to Grind — Rockin!
    Rory Block — When a woman gets the blues — Sweet!

      1. Gary Hoffman

        No. Geoff is referring to the Arhoolie release of the Charles Ford Band, which preceeded the Ford Bros on Blue Rock-It. Both worthwhile considerations for sure.

  8. Geoff

    Robert Nighthawk — ”Live on Maxwell Street 1964”. — Don’t ever, ever, ever miss this one!
    .
    .
    Bruce Fisher above is right! Its AWESOME!

  9. mike

    No Sonnie and Brownie or Gary Davis? Either of the first two Hot Tuna albums? One of my favorites but admitedly obscure albums is Indiana Avenue Blues by Shirley Griffiths and J. T. Adams.

  10. John Henfrey

    Fleetwood Mac, Dog & Dustbin album missing also
    Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, Live in Europe.
    Otis Grand, Blues 65
    B.B. King, Live In Japan.

  11. Russ Olson

    What? No song by Roy Buchanan? The master of the Telecaster? How about ” When a guitar plays the blues ” or any song off ” Loading Zone” he smokes almost every player on this list!

  12. Alex 48

    Lightnin; Slim,Otis Rush,Little Junior Parker, Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Time” album and album on “Dart”,Memphis Willie B, Jesse Fuller, Richard “Rabbit” Brown, Otis Blackwell, Charles Brown, and on and on. This is just not music, it’s life. One of the few things I’ll miss when I die.

  13. chris moran

    I would have left out any rock or jazz cross-over artists (No Stones, no Clapton, no Allman Bros, No Cream, no SRV!!!, no Mose Alison and no Nina Simone!). I’d include The Paul Butterfield Blues Band LIVE double LP and Charlie Musselwhite’s often overlooked “Tennessee Woman.” I’d be quite tempted to include Janis Joplin’s “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!” since we have a Soul-Blues cross-over Aretha Franklin.

    I’d also remove the “Boogie with Canned Heat” and replace it with “Hooker & Heat.”

    Johnny Lang will have to go! But I am so happy _not_ to see Joe Bonamassa.

    What should have been listed instead of Little Walter “His Best” was “The Best of Little Walter” and “Hate To See You Go” — two of the most influential blues platters to have been released. ALSO, guys: Where the heck is “THE BEST OF MUDDY WATERS” (also known as “Sail On” in reissue).

    (Remember, if we get rid of cross-over bands we can have a little more room for the class blues artists who created the music all these cross-over bands derived their music from).

    Leaving out Willie Dixon’s “I AM The Blues” was egregious. A mortal sin.

    Add Arhoolie Record’s: Sonny Boy Williamson II “King Biscuit Time” and “Big Mama Thornton In Europe”

    Add: Chess Records’ “Drop Down Mama” (Nighthawk, Shines, Edwards, Jones, etc) and Elmore James/John Brim “Whose Muddy Shoes?”

    Add: Vanguard Records’ “The Best Of The Chicago Blues” — a seminal anthology.

    Add: Testament Records’ “Modern Chicago Blues.”

    Thanks for reading thus far, if you have. — c.

  14. David MacDiarmid

    Peter Greens” Fleetwood Mac”
    Gary Moore “Blues for Greeny”
    Jethro Tull “This Was”
    Albums i have listened to thousands of times.

    Strangely all missing from your list.

    Check out the story behind the making of “Blues for Greeny”

  15. Wayne Van

    Wow. I have 28 of them and I feel pretty good about that. Half of them are on vinyl though and I have a big job ahead of me digitizing them all. I have the equipment, just don’t have the time. I can think of stuff I’d like to see on the list, but then you have to bump someone else and I just don’t know ho you do that Yikes! A tough job indeed!

  16. Steve

    Some may complain about “crossover” or blues rock albums, but how could anyone not think that the Allman Brother’s Live at Fillmore East shouldn’t be on this list. A great blues album, and did as much as any album to enlighten the average 70s rock fans to the greatness of the blues.

    1. Bennie King

      I agree and was going to post the same. How can you miss Hendrix Blues Album? Also no love for anything Derek Trucks has been involved with.

  17. Emkay

    Chris Moran is RIGHT ON.
    THIS IS A WHITE FOLKS LIST.
    Every single LIGHTNIN’ HOPKINS ALBUM is better than MOST of the albums listed. 4 albums of BLOOMFIELD..???? I love his playing, but this is ridiculous. John Mayall is not in the pantheon of blues artists. Preposterous. WILLIE DIXON, besides writing MANY BLUES STANDARDS/CLASSICS, is playing on mist of the CHESS stjuff. This list needs serious reconsideration.

    1. Jeff Stone

      Amen brother, what a joke. They did say they scoured magazines and the internet for picks, which tells me that they don’t have a clue. Just relying on what they read.

    1. Ken Buzz

      Yeah saw him live at an Eric Clapton gig in Sheffield plays a fiddle (violin) not sure if there is a difference. I did not rate him myself to be on the list

    2. Dave

      Clarence Gatemouth Brown…..hell yeah !!! An incredible guitar/fiddle player who refused to be ‘pigeonholed’ as a bluesman, however I think the majority of his work would be considered by most to be blues. Saw him in Sydney, early 1980’s from memory in a club in Balmain & he was incredible !!! Not sure which album to suggest, however he’s on my list !!!

    3. MaryT

      He actually did make the list, but only for one album? He had others that could easily have been on this list as well. But then again, there are a lot of people who could, or should, have been on this list but aren’t. I also agree with Chris’s statement that cross over artists should have been dropped in favor of true blues legends. Sure, some of those cross overs were not exactly bad by any means, but I don’t know that they belong on this list.

    4. Jamie MacDonald

      Hear, hear – been listening lately to that 90s Rounder Records release, “Gatemouth Swings” – something like that, in which he is playing the Texas blues of his youth ala T-Bone Walker. Great stuff.

  18. Michael Lampert

    the vastness of your undertaking was so huge, that I am not surprised that many people’s favorites are missing! The good thing that came out of this is the secondary list from these comments so we may all discover some hidden treasures that we may have never known about! So thanks again!
    And how the hell did you not include Jimmy Page’s work with Led Zeppelin?

    1. Vrilya

      Your additions of sited omissions sir are excellent sited examples.. The poled list of artists and top albums highly skews the reality of affection adios and professionals as well as the generational listeners would not even say this list poled by this site is even near accurate

  19. Stephen Devine

    B.B. King said, ” Peter Green is the only blues guitar player that can make me cry”….Savoy Brown(Kim Simmons)…and…No Jimmy Page? Something tells me you guys didn’t get to see these people play live .

  20. Stuart Potterton

    you can’t win with a list like this …. Everyone’s would be different – and we all wonder how isn’t this or that album included or this or that artist… Certainly overall I think you got the vast majority of choices right. One album that I love that past me by for many years is Otis spans – the biggest thing since colossus . Probably the best white British / black legend collaboration. Peter greens playing on it sublime. He steps in and out of the shadows as Otis leads the band. Both players enjoying the company they were keeping. Greens playing is perfect… Sublime ferocious subtle but most of all perfectly suited to each song.

  21. Brendan

    To the gentleman who commented that John Mayall doesn’t deserve a place in the Blues pantheon because he was born white and British…Eric Clapton. Peter Green. Mick Taylor. John McVie. Mick Fleetwood. Aynsley Dunbar. Keith Hartley. Jack Bruce. Larry Taylor. American audiences wouldn’t know who any of these artists are today if he hadn’t exposed them to the world, and we certainly wouldn’t be aware of the blues greats who inspires them to pick up their respective instruments. He has every right to a place on this list.

    1. Ray

      I agree Brendan…..their would be no postings here without those blues-inspired bands and many more. BTW : as much as Led Zep did to revive the blues, they never credited the musicians and writers who’s songs they recorded…..they simply reworked them slightly and kept the royalties for themselves….pretty much of a weasel move.

    2. Patrick Longworth

      John Mayall earns a place on my list because he appreciates the blues, he shepherded several artists like Clapton during their careers and for his contribution to the music!

  22. Colin Loubser

    Great list, these must also be close to being on it:
    Duke Robillard & The Pleasure Kings – Rockin Blues
    Ronnie Earl – Language of the Soul
    Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers – Sinner Street
    The Smokin’ Joe Kubek Band – Served up Texas Style
    Toler Bros – Toler Brothers
    Guitar Shorty – Roll Over Baby
    Ben Harper & Charlie Musslewhite – Get up!
    Joe Bonamassa – Sloe Gin

  23. Thomas

    Pretty decent list. Although there will always be missing someting. For example: you only looked ar individual artists, why isn’t there an album
    full of Southren Prison Blues? Speaking of full, I miss Blind Boy Fuller.
    But I am glad Big Bill Broonzy made the list.

  24. Doug Green

    Love Paul Butterfield, Little Walter list goes on, maybe not in the top 100 albums but in top 100 harp players– Richard Newel AKA King Biscuit Boy.

  25. Roger Fermor

    At least this got people talking and I’m sure that many will be picking the lists for stuff they may have missed. In that respect it is a great success so well done!

  26. Ed Verschoor

    ought to be there:
    Otis Spann is the Blues (wikipedia: leading postwar blues pianist) and
    Rod Piazza & Mighty Flyers – Live at B.B. Kings
    Fine list anyway!

  27. Kevin Crawford

    Amazed that “Supersession” wasn’t the first album picked for the list. At least Kooper and Bloomfield were included on another pick. And I second (and must correct) another commenter’s pick of “Mark Ford, with the Robben Ford Band” – a really stunning album that apparently never gets noticed. Btw – I nominate “Talk to Your Daughter” as Robben Ford’s actual best album…

  28. Michael R Harvey

    Dave Van Ronk – Sings the Blues
    James Brown – Messing With the Blues
    Mance Lipscomb – You Got to Reap What You Sow
    Lonnie Mack – Wham
    Tom Rush – Blues, Songs & Ballads
    The Folk Blues of Eric Von Schmidt
    Ray Charles (Self titled) contains:
    Drown In My Own Tears
    Come Back Baby
    Sinner’s Prayer
    Losing Hand
    Fool For You

    1. sean

      Finally, someone mentioned ray Charles, thought I was the only one! guess they assume its soul or r and b, but his early stuff was straight blues. Fats domino too. Love seeing a list like this and watch people speak of their favorites and how could they miss….!? I love you all. Haven’t listened to much blues since I got sober but it holds a special place in my heart. Especially leadbelly.

  29. Herman

    I own most of the 100 mentioned but would like consideration for: Muddy Waters – The London sessions, Big Joe Williams – Hand Me Down My Old Walking Stick. B. B. king – Live and Well. Son House – Father of the Blues, Albert King – Years Gone By, Big Mama Thornton – Jail, Fred McDowell and His Blues Boys, Sonny Boy Williamson – One Way out, and Pink Anderson – Carolina Blues Man

  30. Arska

    I’m glad to see both old and new records on the list, but one of my all-time favorite is missing; Walter Trout. Especially live album Face The Music is awesome.

  31. David Caldwell

    Good to see you have got Gary Moore in there. Groundhogs should be in there and Chicken Shack as previously mentioned. I also Roy Buchanan should be there.

  32. ALAN BLUNDELL

    You are having a larf aint ya,not one album by Ray Charles i.e.Ray Charles at Newport plus plenty of his Atlantic albums deserve a mention,”i believe to my soul” is a rite blues song for instance but people classed it as soul.

  33. federico

    Great list, but i suggest some of Sean Costello and the first recordings of Johnny guitar Watson to. Both are brilliant guitar players and got great voices. Please, listen to sean costello playing “talk to your daughter” and watson’s “three hours past midnight”

  34. Plug

    Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation with John Moorshead?
    Something from Colosseum?
    Something from Audience?
    SOOO many that there just isn’t room for them on this list.

  35. Sauli

    I could not leave out these ass kickin`records that represent the artists as their best:
    J.B.Hutto & The Hawks: Hawk Squat
    The Fabulous Thunderbirds: `Girls Go Wild
    Lil`Ed & The Blues Imperials: Roughhousin`
    Omar&Howlers:I Told You So

  36. Michael Laterrade

    Your list of 100 best blues albums and artists, not to be critical but to reflect with broader objectivity should state; ” A list of highly popular 100 Top Blues Albums and Artists ” but stretches your categorization listed here is it representative of broad objective empiricism because over many years of personal familiarity with Radio Broadcaster personal associations by myself and thousand s of other blues affection adios, your list has excluded a great many of other albums and groups or artists that have poled as greats unsurpassed statistically and by professionals and listeners over the generations. It’s always nice to read contemporary opinions of new poles but the affection adios would surely out number you nominal listing and statistically disagree with this list posted in the idem..

  37. Michael Laterrade

    If you asked leading University music appreciation doctorate professors , I am CERTAIN you would find popularity and technical statistics that could not agree with the idem listing you have posted

  38. Thomas T.

    Muddy Waters “Hard Again” is arguably his greatest Album ever and certainly his best Contemporary Blues Album he ever made. With Johnny Winter,James Cotton Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, Charles Calmese and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith this would be near or at the top of my Top 100!

  39. Becky

    I was happy to see Texas Flood made the list. Also thanks for the list and for everyone adding their favorites. I’ve got a lot of music to find!

  40. GG BONZ

    YOU GUYS TOTALLY MISSED ROY BUCHANAN , BETTER GO BACK AND STUDY UP!!! AND THE ALLMAN BROTHERS “LUDLOW GARAGE” THATS ABOUT AS CORE AS IT GETS

  41. Bennie King

    I agree with a lot of these comments that it’s very difficult to please everyone as there are only 100 spots. But more importantly, we can see all the comments of what people left out. I now have about 20 new artists/albums that I need to hear based off peoples comments and I thank the list and the people who commented for that. Personally my top 6 guitarists of all time are: Freddie King, Duane Allman, Hendrix, SRV, Derek Trucks and Albert King. If anyone can recommend artist like these players, that’d be cool too.

  42. Sean

    Missing:
    1. The Jimmy Rogers All Stars Band (Jeff Healey, Kim Wilson, Eric Clapton and more) – Blues, Blues Blues.
    2. Big Dave McLean – For the Blues, Always.
    3 James Hunter – People Gonna Talk

    1. Gary Hoffman

      No. Geoff is referring to the Arhoolie release of the Charles Ford Band, which preceeded the Ford Bros on Blue Rock-It. Both worthwhile considerations for sure. Also, agree that the classic Love Sculpture LP, Blues Helping, would belong on my list. Other omissions that certainly belong: Jimmy Witherspoon, Charles Brown, and Dave Van Ronk

  43. Derek Price

    Fantastic list but seriously where are The Animals one of the best blues bands of the 60’s nothing can come close to there self titled album and House of the Rising Sun is a classic. :)

  44. Felix Sebastian Nazarevscky

    Missing Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Cray Band, Robben Ford, Gary Clark Jr., Peter Green, Janis Joplin, Gov’t Mule

  45. antonio salazar

    I know it is hard to please everybody but they left outside Edgar winter Tobacco Road, Led Zeppelin I Can´t quit you Babe or Since I´ve been loving you, and jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child

  46. Brent Williams

    How can you not include Willie Dixon’s I am the Blues full of classic tunes all penned by Dixon and check out how often his name appears on other peoples albums he is the man

  47. Phil Jackson

    Good try but no Johnny Shines (with Shakey Horton) or Peatie Wheatstraw. As usual guitar is the theme. Pretty weak on harp: No Sonny Boy 1 (John Lee Williamson). Sugar Blue, Paul DeLay, William Clarke and piano OTIS SPANN, Little Brother Montgomery, Big Maceo. Odd Muddy Waters choices – should be Real Fok Blues or Sail On. Otis Taylor?

  48. Patrick

    I think you could have included every SRV album released, but glad Texas Flood is on there. I would have to include ZZ Top and Hendrix to make this an “official” list! :)

    1. RC Justice

      Bout time someone mentioned Shuggie Otis. Roy Buchanan was to overly stylistic, loved him but he began to bore me. When it comes to white guys playing the Blue how about ZZTop Rio Grand Mud,. Jesus just left Chicago???? Also Paul Butterfield, Boz Scaggs Loan me a dime.

  49. Ray Collier

    Bad Axe by Son Seals is definitely missing, Boom Boom by John Lee Hoover is definitely deserving, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown probably should also be included.

  50. Paul Williams

    Growing up in Chicago I became a fan of Billy Boy Arnold. He has a lot of great records. His songs have been covered by some of the best. Give him a listen.

  51. Tom

    Johnny Winter nothin but the blues
    Johnny Winter progressive blues experiment
    Johnny Winter Whit Hot and Blue

    Johnny and Muddy during their time together was priceless!

    Excellent list!

  52. Billy

    I think 100 albums is too limiting. Here are a list of albums that I like.
    Taj Mahal the real thing
    Nick gravenites my labors
    Electric flag long time coming
    Fleetwood Mac Irish rose

  53. Cynthia Amorese

    Willie Dixon’s Chess Box MUST be included — hands down one of the best blues compilations ever! You also need to listen to Janis Joplin and Big Mama Thornton if you want to know what women’s blues sounds like. And nothing by Howlin’ Wolf? As for Jimmy Reed, Cold Chills tops the Carnegie Hall album. And you’re really stretching the definition of blues by classifying “Layla” as a blues album.

    1. Patrick Longworth

      So would you prefer it to be “white people’s blues” rather than blues or perhaps rock and roll? I came to blues music after rock and roll through Eric Clapton and others so I am perhaps not a blues purist but I do appreciate Robert Johnson, BB King, and many others as well as those who led me to their music. “Layla” may not be pure blues but it is blues enough to me.

  54. Joseph Semenza

    Very glad to see my favorite Rory Gallagher included. As been noted, I can’t see any list not including some Hendrix or Buchanan to be definitive, though this is subjective at best. Also, no Lonnie Mack.

  55. PO Nordin

    Where is the westafrican blues!? Wht about Ali farka Toures last albumSavane. And where is Professor Longhair , dr John, Bukka White, Big Joe Williams and Big Joe Turner. And I also miss some women for example Ruth Brown, LaVerne Baker and Bettye Lavette. all these had made exellent albums.

  56. Jeff Stone

    For anyone looking for excellent CD’s:
    Hendrix “Blues”
    Slim Harpo “best of”
    Buddy Guy “Stone Crazy”
    Hollywood Fats “Rock this House”
    Lightnin’ Slim “Best of”
    Magic Slim “The essential”
    Johnny Shines “Standing at the Crossroads”
    Johnny Winter “Third Degree”
    Koko Taylor “Live from Chicago”
    Big Mama Thornton “with Muddy Waters Band”
    Willie Dixon “I am the Blues”
    Any Compilations from:
    Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Freddy King, BB King.
    For Blues Rockers:
    Janis Joplin “The essential”
    Stevie Ray Vaughn “Martin Scorcese presents”
    Humble Pie “Up your Sleeves”
    Any Live Allman Bros.
    Stones “Get your ya ya’s out”
    ZZ Top “First album”
    Led Zepplin “First album”
    AC/DC “If you want Blood”

  57. John Malay

    Clarence Gatemouth Brown
    Chicago: the Blues Today, volume with Johnny Young, Johnny Shines, Big Walter
    Willie Dixon
    Eric Clapton & the Powerhouse (on Electra as I recall)
    first Taj Mahal solo record (w/ Ry Cooder, Jessie Ed Davis, etc)
    Muddy Waters: Fathers & Sons
    Big Joe Turner
    etc etc

  58. Joe Guts

    I’ve been listening to and playing the blues for about 50 years now. And everyone has their own opinion and that’s great. ‘Cuz yer listening to the blues and that’s the thing. But in those years I have heard five albums that have all had a great influence on me. They are ‘Fresh Cream’ by Cream, ‘Burglar’ by Freddie King, ‘Johnny Winter’ by (of course) Johnny Winter, ‘From The Cradle’ by Eric Clapton, and ‘I Left My Blues In San Francisco’ by Buddy Guy. And, of course, pretty much everything by Wolf and Muddy. But those albums that I’ve listed are the ones I suggest people listen to, and I have done so for a long time.

  59. Ricky Racoon

    Not having your favorite album making the top 100… That’s what the blues is all about! Seriously, great choice! Very difficult to narrow it down to 100. I would have include Bukka White, but that’s just my personnal taste.

  60. Aristocracker

    Great list and recommendations from others. I’ll definitely be checking them out.

    I like to add Watermelon Slim and the Workers 2006 album and their “The Wheel Man” 2007 CD.
    Enjoy his lyrics and his slide and harp playing are on the money,

  61. Patrick Longworth

    Did you consider any Canadian blues artists? The Powder Blues, The Jeff Healey Band, Colin James and there are others I am not able to list as well. I think there are also cases of musicians from other genres who recorded blues or blues like music – Triumph is one group I can think of.

  62. dave

    Kokomo Arnold, Barbecue Bob, Charles Brown, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Blue Lu, Scrapper Blackwell, Cousin Joe, Pee Wee Crayton, Willie Dixon, Floyd Dixon, Snooks Eaglin, Sleepy John Estes, Four Blazes, Arthur Gunter, Slim Gaillard, Wynonie Harris,Earl Hooker, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Alberta Hunter, Ivory Joe Hunter, Tommy Johnson,, Lightnin’ Slim, J.B. Lenoir, Little Willie John, Smiley Lewis, Furry Lewis, Jimmy McCracklin, Percy Mayfield, Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, Big Maybelle, Roy Milton, Amos Milburn to mention a few.

  63. William Reaves

    Man, did they miss a lot. Many that are much better than those they selected !!! I should
    know, I’ve seen and listened to all the best in the business !!!

  64. Ruben Vrielynck

    Some other (also not mentioned in the comment section, i think) great blues (or bluesrock) albums I very much like are:

    Big Joe Turner – The Boss of The Blues (1956)
    Down and Out Blues – Sonny Boy Williamson (1959)
    Two Steps from the Blues – Bobby Blue Band (1962)
    Five Live Yardbirds – The Yardbirds (1964)
    The Sound of ’65 – Graham Bond Organisation (1965)
    The Genius of Earl Hooker – Earl Hooker (1968)
    I Am The Blues – Willie Dixon (1970)
    The London Howlin” Wolf Sessions – Howlin” Wolf (1971)
    On the Boards – Taste (1970)
    Calling Card – Rory Gallagher (1976)
    Naturally – JJ Cale (1972)
    George Thorogood & The Destroyers – self titled debut (1977)
    Live on the Queen Mary – Professor Longhair (1978)
    Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters – Paul Rodgers (& friends) (1993)
    Blue Streak – Luther Allison (1995)
    Low Country Blues – Gregg Allman (2011)
    Live – Gary Clark Jr. (2014)

  65. Pat Ludwick

    I think you are mistaken on Howlin’ Wolf’s Moanin’ at Midnight. I believe this really should be Moanin’ in the Moonlight out in 1962 with Moanin’ at Midnight as the first song on this release.

  66. Mike C.

    The replies here are priceless. Bad Company? AC/DC? George Thoroughgood? Janis Joplin? Stevie Ray Vaughn? Humble Pie? Allman Bros.? Why not include Men At Work and Bay City Rollers?

  67. Patrick Longworth

    I’m not sure of the origin of many of these artists listed but it appears that the list doesn’t include any Canadian blues guitarists.

    Jeff Healey Group, he was appreciated by BB King and Eric Clapton.

    The Powder Blues Band may not be “pc” blues but they played their variety of blues.

    Triumph was labeled hard rock or heavy metal but Rik Emmett and the band did play and record some bluesy music from time to time.

    Ultimately who is the “definer” of what blues is and whether an artist is truly a blues artist?

    I do appreciate that some of my favorite artists and albums are on here even as I acknowledge that some people are “dissing” that same music as “impure” or not “blues” to them.

  68. Robin Gullstrand

    Hi,

    I’m glad glad that you mentioned the Rolling Stones debut album which is one of the best examples of British blues from the sixties. But you have forgotten one very important British blues classic from that time, Five Live Yardbirds with the Yardbirds (Eric Clapton was one of members at that time, replaced later by Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page).

    The British blues scene during the sixties was so important for the founders of the blues and played an very important role to make this black music style to be accepted among the white audience in America.

  69. Blue Labyrinth

    And not to mention a few good blues artists and bands from the Antipodes: Jeff Lang, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Chain, Joe Camilleri (JoJo Zep), Phil Jones and The Unknown Blues, Fourday Riders, CW Stoneking, Backsliders, Zyedecats, Chris Wilson, Dutch Tilders, Foreday Riders, John Butler, Mia Dyson, just to name a few…..

  70. ruston hornsby

    All lists will be criticised – Dan Patlansky from South Africa is currently a well respected player, Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule is a legend and Lonnie Mack is a notable absentee . Would like to see One Album per Artist – this allows a greater degree of inclusivity

  71. Bryan Adkins

    A couple of albums that should have been included are: John Lee Hooker-I Am John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson-One Way Out. Hard Again by Muddy Waters is also a good one.

  72. Peter Squires

    I would have included Otis Spann LP-The biggest thing since Colossus….John Lee Hooker LP-Live at cafe au-go-go….Muddy Waters 2LP-Fathers and Sons….Earl Hooker LP-Hooker and Steve…….Cheers to All.

  73. Doug Potoksky

    No Ronnie Earl! That is like making a chicken soup with no chicken! Plus the fact Ronnie plays ever note like it is his last! I thought that is what the blues is all about.Thanks!

  74. Steve islip

    Hooker n heat already mentioned but what about hooker n davis hot spot soundtrack . Rl burnside ass in pocket and finally graham bond organisation live at klooks kleek . All essential

  75. Bret Lysle

    Rev. Gary Davis Live at Manchester Union Hall & you need some thing with Buddy Guy & Junior Wells. Big Mama Thornton with the Muddy Waters Blues Band.

  76. Gerry Ross

    Excellent list, though I would have left a Various Artists field opened for CHICAGO! THE BLUES! TODAY! from 1966. Three volumes with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Otis Spann, Otis Rush, J.B. Hutto, Jimmy Cotton, Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, Johnny Young, Homesick James, and Charlie Musselwhite is absolutely essential blues listening!

  77. mike

    One James Cotton album and two Mayall. Uh, no. Sonny Boy Williamson II told Mayall to do everyone a favor and don’t sing ever again. Gotta agree with that. You could get rid of all the rock bands and all the English bands. They were just regurgitating the masters. Go to the source not the people that are doing Rock covers.

  78. Zeke

    Agree about Willie Dixon…Needs to be there. No Rolling Stones, Cream, Fleetwood Mac etc…But Stevie Ray was real blues.

    What about?
    Tab Benoit, Tommy Castro, Blues Brothers, Room full of blues, Elvin Bishop???

  79. falcon

    I’m not a member of the Blues Police force. I LOVE it ALL. Rock blues, straight blues, jazz blues etc. I want to know about everyone and then select my own favorites. I wish the list could have had 500 or 1000 great albums. And I applaud you for alphabetical as opposed to a “merit” ranking. All of these works are valuable and have merit!! I know most folks think of Louis Armstrong as Jazz, but for me, I’d include some of his work. You might really want to check out Justin Johnson “If Walls Could Talk” and “Smoke and Mirrors”. He’s another haunting, beautiful player who might not have come to your attention yet. He plays a lot of cigar box guitars and unusual instruments. In a slightly more dialed up vein, I’d also include Anthony Gomes. And Joe Bonamassa was adored by B.B. King, you need a better recommendation than that?? I encourage you to make your lists as expansive and inclusive as possible and to avoid playing the “who’s best” card, which is really just for people who are too lazy to make their own assessments of what they like. I WANT TO HEAR IT ALL!!
    And thank you!!
    .

  80. Eric Hall

    Typical North American rubbish. How can you possibly have a list of Blues Albums without “Hogwash”, “Split” or “Thank Christ For The Bomb” featuring anywhere?
    Unbelievable.

  81. John G

    Bo Carter, Blind Boy Fuller, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Robert Wilkins, Furry Lewis, Memphis Minnie, Elizabeth Cotten, Rev Gary Davis, Lil Son Jackson, Dave Honeyboy Edwards, Cephas and Wiggins, John Jackson, Sony Boy Williamson I, Stefan Grossman, Eric Bibb are all major names worthy of inclusion in my opinion.

  82. Steve

    Gosh I could add a lot more. And change some to different albums. As for Allman Bros. and Cream not being blues bands I would have to differ. Many of us that grew up in the 60’s heard the blues first from these bands and more. The blues was almost dead in the us. The Brits embraced it and started it again. My first concert was the Jefferson Airplane with the warm up band The Yardbirds in 1967. I would say that some of these bands should be included. I wish it was more than 100. I would also include Alvin Lee and Ten Years After Playing the Blues.
    Etta James, Tell Mamma. Ruth Brown, James Cotten, Son Seals, Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, Little Ed and the Blues Imperials, The Staple Singers,Savoy Brown, John Hammond, Sister Roseta Thorp, Ko Ko Tylor, Bobby Blue Bland, Kokomo Arnald, I almost out of room here… to bad I could name another hundred I bet.

  83. david caldwell

    Has been previously mentioned but should include Chicken Shack and the Groundhogs. Also the Graham Bond Organisation. Also surprised that Robin Trower hasnt been mentioned

  84. Larry Hoyt

    Where is “Fathers and Sons” ? This has to be one of the greats! Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Duck Dunn, Buddy Miles, and so many more. How could you miss this one?

  85. Roger Fermor

    We all have our own ideas for those who do and don’t qualify for inclusion in this list but I am just grateful that so many artists and albums are listed by the compilers and the mailers because there are some I missed, until now. Thanks all!

  86. Preslives

    There are some good albums here, but a number of giants like Robert Nighthawk, Big Joe Turner, Tommy Johnson and J.B. Hutto are strangely absent. The choice for Muddy Waters does not cover his best recordings. Why not The Best of Muddy Waters?

  87. Slidge

    Definitely:
    – Snooks Eaglin – New Orleans Street Singer
    – Townes Van Zandt – Live at the Old Quarter

    And some compilations:
    – Lomax¨s Blues Songbook
    – Smithsonian Folkways “Classic Appalachian Blues”

    We could endlessly debate about the definition of blues, but the purpose here is not to list all the guitarists that once played a blues classic, or our favorites RnB or jazz or rock musicians.

    They are however some albums of undead white people who could be integrated in such a list:
    – Neil Youngs soundtrack for “Dead Man”
    – John Luries “Legendary Marvin Pontiac”
    – Tom Waits´ “Orphans: Brawlers”

    (as you see, i like the movies of Jim Jarmusch !)

  88. Ciro Fogliatta

    John Lee Hooker LP-Live at cafe au-go-go….(with Muddy Waters Band) the summit of Chicago Blues, obviously I miss in the List…..about british blues “A hard road” John Mayall & bluesbrakers

  89. john

    Why is there always someone who has to have the 100 best or the top ten etc. The Blues is the blues some you like some you don’t , some I like some I don’t . The other thing that amazes me is how everybody is an authority on how the bands such as the Stones, Cream , Mayall, Butterfield and on and on saved the music and brought it back to life. The Blues was starting to come back to its own in 1965/1966 and would have continued thanks to the desire of college kids willing to expand away from the norm and the hipsters shunning mainstream music. I remember the first time I saw Muddy Waters at the Jazz Workshop in Boston 1965? there were probably about 20 people there, and each time after it became more and more crowded ,not because we were awakened to the music by Elvis,Mick and Keith , and Clapton
    or Jeff Beck ,it was just the time for the Blues , which had never really made it outside of the black community.It was word of mouth , conversation , concerts like the newport Jazz festival.

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