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Album Cover Various Artists - Mali to Memphis: An African-American Odyssey (Putumayo World Music)

This is quite possibly the most important blues compilation to come out this decade, as well as the most important collection of West African music to come out in the same period of time. The layout of the CD is awesome; the gentle traditional Malinese guitarwork of Habib Koite is sandwiched between Memphis blues legends John Lee Hooker and Guy Davis is an incredible contrast, while the remastered Boubacar Traore track definitely points to why he was such a huge influence on Jimi Hendrix and other American musicians of the '60s. Another reason why this disc is so great is that the remastering of all these tracks is so clean that they could have been studio recorded yesterday.

Those of us who have beat our heads against the wall trying to enjoy substandard recordings of Delta blues as much in our own homes as we did at live performances will be especially pleased with this disc. As far as contemporary musicians go, this disc also includes a new Taj Mahal track as well as work from the truly incomparable Eric Bibb-Bibb's contribution alone is worth buying the disc for, but even if it wasn't here, this disc would be impossible for me to give away.

by Holly Day.