We’ve been asking some of our favourite blues artists what their top 5 blues albums are – this week it’s Davy Knowles !

1) John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers W/ Eric Clapton ‘Beano Album’

This was my introduction to the blues. I had never heard anything so pent up and fired with emotion before. From John Mayall’s haunting and weeping vocals to Clapton’s stuttering and masterful solo on ‘Have You Heard’ (my favourite guitar moment on the record)… this served as an education to so many. I think also it sparked the historian in me, and sent me researching where this music came from – the first track is an Otis Rush song, the second a Freddie King. There are Ray Charles songs, Robert Johnson songs… Reading the liner notes to this album was the foundation for my musical education in this genre.

2) Mance Lipscomb – Texas Sharecropper and Songster

Mance Lipscomb is such a criminally underrated artist. This record is full of really intelligent and insightful writing, He had such a unique style, and I think what I love most about him, is that this isn’t about the guitar, or even the blues. It just seems to be a wonderful narrative that pours out of him. Stand out track to me is ‘Ain’t it Hard’. It meanders between major and minor, and is just a great example of what a fabulous writer Mr. Lipscomb was.


3) Rory Gallagher – ‘Blues’

I really could have picked any album of Rory’s for this, I’m such a fan! But this excellent compilation put out a couple of years ago really shows how deep Rory’s knowledge went, and how versatile he was in performing so many different styles. From the almost ragtime of Blind Boy Fuller, to more raucous screaming electric numbers. Also worth noting for me, as a fellow celt, is Rory’s own take on the blues – ‘Million Miles Away’ which for me perfectly marries his Irish roots and his obvious love of Blues music.


4) Son House – Father Of Folk Blues

I’m not sure anyone’s record collection is complete without this one. Although it was recorded late in Son House’s career, in his period of re-discovery during the 60’s, it serves as such an important document. One of the true Delta-style originators showing the noisy new kids who occupied the charts how it was done The energy and aggression is just amazing to me, there’s no doubting he has lived and means Every Single Damn Word. It’s guttural, acoustic folk music documenting a lived, human experience. This album is vital.

5) – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac

Peter Green packed more feeling into one note than most do in one album. Just the opening phrase of ‘I Loved Another Woman’ is enough. So haunting, so emotive. I think what I also love about Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac is they were able to take more traditional electric forms of the genre, like the aforementioned track and the Elmore James stomps led so well by Jeremy Spencer, and put them alongside an obvious desire to write more progressive songs that would appear on their later records like ‘Then Play On’. I so wish I had been around to have experienced that trajectory in real-time, but perhaps one of the thrills of discovering music from before your own time, is that you see all of that journey at once. It’s pretty amazing to think that in a few short years Peter Green would also be laying down the foundations of Heavy Metal with ‘The Green Manalishi’…

How incredible is that!?