60 Shades of the Deep Blues by Mercury (2019)

So for this chart I wanted to give a nice overview of some great, essential deep blues. If you want more discussion and history feel free to check out the corresponding "Genre Extravaganza: DEEP BLUES/COUNTRY BLUES" forum topic. It's really old now so it may be a challenge to uncover it. ; )

Also read books on it. I'd say the best introduction to the story of this amazing music is the book "Deep Blues" by Robert Palmer. It's what I stole the name of this chart from and it's one of my favorite books of any kind.

If you have any recommendations or questions or if you like some particular artist and want to know who/what to check out next - all those things should be made in to comments. And I promise oh get back with you.

Love you beautiful people.

Peace,
Ryan

There are 29 comments for this chart from BestEverAlbums.com members and 60 Shades of the Deep Blues has an average rating of 94.92391967773438 out of 100 (from 62 votes). Please log in or register to leave a comment or assign a rating.

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The greatest blues man of all time. Also the most influential blues man of all time. Also one of the greatest songwriters in American music history. Also one of the greatest songbooks ever by one man. Here is square one for anyone interested in getting into the deep deep deep blues. You can here a lot of where a lot of the greats came from in this album, Bob Dylan, The Stones, Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin, Chuck Berry, etc. Here is the root of so much greatness. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1990
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720
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Blind Lemon Jefferson is indisputably one of the most important figures in the history of blues. He was, in many regards, in a league of his own in terms of influence in the blues community. He was one of the founders of Texas blues (along with Texas Alexander), one of the most influential country bluesmen of all time, one of the most popular bluesmen of the 1920s, and the first truly commercially successful male blues performer. Before Lemon's success the only commercially successful blues musicians were female singers such as Mamie and Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, but with Jefferson came a blues artist who was solo, self-accompanied, and performing a great deal of original material in addition to the more familiar repertoire of folk standards. And as a guitarist he developed an amazing jazz influenced guitar style heavy on single stringed picked solos and guitar interplay with his very passionate and moaning vocals. This man's music and songs are just haunting and some of the most memorable and powerful of all time. See "Black Snake Moan" and "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean" as just a couple examples of his holiness. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1985
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9
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Blind Willie Johnson is, in my mind, the single most intense and wild and scorching performer in the history of Country Blues. He mixed the devout belief and sincerity and soulfulness of Gospel with the sounds of the blues, He mixed the sound of Delta blues (in it's most beautiful and white-hot form) with the sound of Texas guitar harmonizing. He had the most inspired vocals ever, his beautiful humming and moaning and his gravelly barking delivery holding equal power from both polarities. His subject matters are almost wholly religious. Very pious. But the energy of his performances is enough to make almost anyone pay attention. He is also one of the greatest and most impressive slide guitarists you'll ever hear. He's on my personal "mount rushmore" of favorite Country blues musicians, easily. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1993
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Rank Score:
105
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Blind Willie McTell is blues royalty. While being undoubtedly one of the greatest guitarist in its history, he was also one of his most emotive and beautiful vocalists ever. And as a musician, with his signature 12 String guitar, he melded blues with ragtime in ways few could pull off. And he was so nimble in his guitar prowess he sounded like 2 guitarist at once at times. Another thing not to be missed is his superb songwriting skills lyrically and his profound sense of rhythm in his playing. The dude was just a straight stud. Oh and his songs with Ruth Mary Willis are absolutely to die for. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
2003
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Rank Score:
29
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These recordings are very rough sounding, sometimes the static is nearly unlistenable. But for most of 'em and even many of the super rough sounding ones, it feels like you are right there in the room with this man as he plays. His singing is HAUNTING. The vibrato in his wails feels so dark and ominous. His vocal style was very influential on Howlin' Wolf (who was very influential upon Cap'n Beefheart... Who influenced Waits' vocals, etc ;) ) This man was definitely one of the all time great bluesmen. These recordings are essential listening. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1996
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Rank Score:
179
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Mississippi Fred McDowell is a revelation. Every ounce of soul and energy that he can muster seems to be poured into the moaning, propulsive guitar sounds he creates. And these recordings are so beautiful, intimate and nicely preserved and recorded. It's so awesome to feel as if you are there 70+ years ago in a room listening to the downright mysterious and beautiful music. If you are wanting to get into the greatest delta bluesmen, this probably should be one of your first oh maybe 5 stops. It works well as a straight intro. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
2011
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Rank Score:
5
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I suppose the name says it all. Mr. Patton is regarded as the first. I mean, Jesus, this dude practically created the genre - think about how much far reaching influence these recordings have had? Yeah. But all that aside, Patton had this great, very deep and booming bark when he sang. He had just an amazing rhythmic guitar sound. He was a musical force of nature. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1969
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Rank Score:
97
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Blind Blake was a fascinating man. A mystery to this day as to who he was, where he was from, what his true name is, etc. But it's amazing also how important he was to the development of Blues and Ragtime. Along with being one of the most skilled guitarists in blues history, he was perhaps the primary developer of "finger-style" ragtime on the guitar, Blake was a TOTAL master of this technique, unsurpassed in the 85+ years since. This compilation possesses an energy and warmth that is simply stunning. He was a total giant. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1984
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None
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None
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Son House was like a preacher. When he was on (which he is on all these recordings) he was pure fire. He was pure passion. And his slap style guitar managed to be just as, if not more, amazing than his hero, Charley Patton's. In truth, this set of tracks is profound at times in its honest passion and emotion. Son House may have been the coolest vocalists ever because, like I said, he vocally strutted like a holy man. He was like James Brown before James Brown. Anyway, now I'm just rambling. It's fucking Son House! [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1990
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Rank Score:
25
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Okay, so please get this straight: Lonnie Johnson is in many ways on a whole other level than basically every other person I've mentioned so far on this thread in terms of influence, originality, skill, diversity and in terms of the lasting print he left on music, all music. Melodically he was so advanced and brilliant and so far outstretched most anyone in the pre-war blues (or even jazz) scene it's insane. He is featured here because although the blues was but a part of his legacy, it was through the blues he got his start and it was through the blues that he created some of his most aesthetically rich and godly music. He was idolized by Robert Johnson, he was heavily influential on later jazz guitar geniuses such as Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt, and he is said to have been the first person to introduce the guitar solo on record (yes, you heard me right.) on the song "6/88 Glide". But putting all these influence talks aside, he was truly one of the most engaging and inventive and fun to listen to guitarist to ever grace this world. I could go on and in about him, but I will end by saying please check this man's music out. He is very important to me. [First added to this chart: 05/31/2014]
Year of Release:
1990
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Rank Score:
82
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Total albums: 60. Page 1 of 6

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60 Shades of the Deep Blues composition

Decade Albums %


1930s 0 0%
1940s 0 0%
1950s 2 3%
1960s 3 5%
1970s 5 8%
1980s 9 15%
1990s 34 57%
2000s 6 10%
2010s 1 2%
2020s 0 0%
Country Albums %


United States 56 93%
Mixed Nationality 4 7%
Compilation? Albums %
No 8 13%
Yes 52 87%

60 Shades of the Deep Blues chart changes

Biggest climbers
Climber Up 2 from 8th to 6th
The Alan Lomax Recordings
by Mississippi Fred McDowell
Biggest fallers
Faller Down 1 from 6th to 7th
Founder Of The Delta Blues
by Charley Patton
Faller Down 1 from 7th to 8th
Ragtime Guitar's Foremost Fingerpicker
by Blind Blake (US)

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60 Shades of the Deep Blues ratings

Average Rating: 
95/100 (from 62 votes)
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09/07/2020 16:38 arthurbittencour  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 15690/100
 
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03/18/2020 16:21 Jameth  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 4596/100
 
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12/18/2019 07:00 DrewHamster  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 12874/100
 
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12/18/2019 03:48 crimson  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 9169/100
 
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12/18/2019 01:33 Rhyner  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,09399/100

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This chart is rated in the top 1% of all charts on BestEverAlbums.com. This chart has a Bayesian average rating of 94.9/100, a mean average of 95.8/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 96.8/100. The standard deviation for this chart is 6.9.

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60 Shades of the Deep Blues comments

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From 09/07/2020 16:46
@arthurbittencourt - lol I get it. I love the wild. I am not familiar with a deep delta blues album of his. Pre-war mostly acoustic blues is the center of this chart. I have another chart which I’ve not finished after years of procrastination which is about my fave post WWII mostly electric blues which howlin Wolf is high on cuz he is one of the greats.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 09/07/2020 16:38
95 / 100 just because no Howlin' Wolf.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
100/100
From 03/18/2020 16:37
Document Records cut their albums straight, which is why they’re so noisy. You can find comps for Tommy Johnson and others which have lower noise levels. Another important example of this is the more recent Centennial Collection for Robert Johnson, which contains all of the tracks found on The Complete Recordings (plus two more), but is much more listenable. Anyways, I thought I’d mention this because it might be better to steer people new to the blues or pre-war recordings towards the lower noise recordings. Or even to post-war tape recordings for those artists that are fortunate enough to have recorded to tape, such as Son House and Blind Willie McTell.

Thanks for helping the cause of the blues with this awesome chart!
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100/100
From 12/18/2019 03:49
Man, one of the greatest charts in this site. A loooot to be discovered by the common man in here.
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Rating:  
90/100
From 12/17/2019 22:05
Damn, my blues doesn't go that deep, but I'm glad someone is willing to take the effort to make such a chart. It wouldn't be bad for me to get educated on blues and see where it overlaps with and how it evolved into rock 'n' roll. My previous efforts have been tiresome and unfruitful (everything is hard to find), maybe your chart will be good guidance.
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Rating:  
90/100
From 12/17/2019 13:22
Very informative. A subject i don't know too much about.
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Rating:  
85/100
From 07/05/2019 07:42
This comment is beneath your viewing threshold.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -3 votes (0 helpful | 3 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 03/08/2019 05:27
How old are you my good friend? and how long have you been listening to blues?
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (1 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
Rating:  
100/100
From 01/21/2019 21:16
I thought I knew all there was to know about the Pre-war "deep blues", but this chart just made me add a few albums to my wishlist. Some excellent selections and comments.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +2 votes (2 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
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100/100
From 11/15/2018 23:57
What an undertaking! I'll have to get to work on this immediately.
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