We’ve been asking some of our favourite blues artists what their top 5 blues songs are – this week we’ve got Chris from The Cold Stares!

1) King of the Delta Blues Singers Robert Johnson – “Ramblin’ On My Mind”

I heard this album I think when I was 15 or 16 years old and I couldn’t believe how magical and honest it was. The level of guitar playing, and the uniqueness of how Robert played. The lyrics, and the honestly in Johnson’s voice that makes you believe that beautiful dark poetry is coming directly from his soul.

2) Willie Johnson – You’ll Need Somebody On Your Bond

Blind Willie Johnson has one of the most tragic stories of anything you will ever read, and despite that you find this incredible music that revolves around faith and hope wrapped up in a very traditional Delta blues styling. Lyrically amazing, honest, and I immediately get transported every time I hear something from this record. It is one of my life’s ambitions to turn more people on to Willie Johnson, share his story and keep these songs alive. They are a direct line to what makes the hair stand up on my neck.


3) The Delta Blues of Son House – Death Letter Blues

Just so real, so honest. I love the contrast and contradictions in the lyrics and Son’s life that all equal the real human experience. I love that the vocals and songs are not overcome with fancy guitar playing and unneeded instrumentation. It’s mean, beautiful, honest and as close to the root of real American music as I think you can find.


4) Elmore James – Look On Yonder Wall

That slide, that voice. What else can I say. One of my vocal heroes along with Boyd Rivers. I am enamored with the recordings, the microphone capture, and Elmore’s performance. This is what I put on when I need a kick in the ass, and something I always reference when doing vocals. 10 out of 10 to me.

5) Muddy Waters – I Can’t Be Satisfied

I mean come on, it’s Muddy. Just an amazing album, absolute legend and the godfather of electric blues. I love Muddy’s style, his confidence without being cocky. I love that these records are not overplayed instrumentation wise. This to me is American music, Muddy is an American icon, and one of the reasons I’m proud to be from here and play American music. There will never be another like Muddy, and there will never be recordings like this again.