It didn't really take a rocket scientist (or a respected music journalist) to figure this one out...on the blues chart for the week ending November 10, 2012 Blak and Blu, the full-length major label debut from blues guitarist Gary Clark, Jr. debuts in the number one position. I called it last week, figured that Clark would knock Bonnie back out of the top spot, and considering that Raitt's Slipstream has dominated the chart since the summer, I see Clark holding onto number one for a while. Interestingly, the Tedeschi Trucks Band's Revelator album drops out of the top ten (to #12) for the first time in almost a year and a half since its release, many of those weeks spent at number one.
What I like about the biz is these odd little compilation albums that pop onto the chart every now and then, as When Chicago Got The Blues does this week. A collaboration between Universal Music (which owns the rich Chess Records catalog) and Starbucks' Hear Music label, When Chicago Got The Blues can be found for sale at the coffee chain's thousands of stores, which is probably why it debuts this week at a lofty number four. The album doesn't have anything that the seasoned blues fan doesn't already own, but for the neophyte, these songs by Howlin' Wolf, Koko Taylor, Muddy Waters, Hound Dog Taylor, and other Chicago blues stalwarts may sound like a revelation. Anything that brings new blues fans to the bleachers is OK by me.
November isn't much of a month for new albums, and almost half of the scheduled releases come out this week, the most notable being the collaboration between Eric Bibb and West African musician Habib Koite, Brothers In Bamako, which should be very interesting.
Here are this week's Billboard Top Ten blues albums, ranked by sales:
10. Bettye LaVette - Thankful N' Thoughtful (Anti Records)
9. Shemekia Copeland - 33 1/3 (Telarc Records)
8. Robert Cray - Nothin But Love (Provogue Records)
7. Tedeschi Trucks Band - Everybody's Talkin' (Sony Masterworks)
6. Joe Bonamassa - Driving Towards The Daylight (J&R Adventures)
5. Joe Bonamassa - Beacon Theater: Live From New York (J&R Adventures)
4. Various Artists - When Chicago Got The Blues (Hear Music)
3. Gary Clark, Jr. - The Bright Lights EP (Warner Brothers)
2. Bonnie Raitt - Slipstream (Redwing Records)
1. Gary Clark, Jr. - Blak and Blu (Warner Brothers)
New Releases: Bessie Smith's The Complete Columbia Recordings (Sony Legacy); Eric Bibb & Habib Koite's Brothers In Bamako (Stony Plain Records); Junior Kimbrough's First Recordings (Fat Possum Records)
When Chicago Got The Blues photo courtesy Starbucks Entertainment/Hear Music