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The Very Best of Jimmy Reed

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Album Review

Jimmy Reed followed a limited formula, but it worked time and time again, and his songs, because of their inherent structural simplicity, are among the most versatile in the blues canon, and have been covered by countless blues and pop artists. With his laid-back, slurred singing style stretched over a lazy, easy boogie rhythm, and punctuated by short runs on his racked harmonica, Reed brought a kind of hushed, unhurried urgency to everything he recorded. The lyrics to his songs were actually written by his wife, Mary Lee Reed, and although she remains in the background on his records, they were very much a songwriting team, turning out such enduring classics as "Baby What You Want Me to Do," "Big Boss Man," "Bright Lights, Big City," and "Ain't That Loving You Baby," all of which are included on this collection. There are numerous compilations of Reed's work on the market, some more complete than this one, but given the sameness of his approach, this 16-song set might be just about the right length for the casual listener.

Customer Reviews

Jimmy Reed's Music is Unique

As a kid growing up in LA in the 50's, I was fortunate enough to be able to hear Jimmy Reed's music on a couple of radio stations (the only two LA stations back then that played rhythm and blues performed by black musicians). I liked most of it then, but as I grew older, I really began to appreciate how unique and special it is. My brother, who was a professional rock and roll and blues musician himself, also loved Jimmy Reed's music and played more and more of it as he grew older. Young or old, if you don't know Jimmy's music, but you like rock and roll or the blues, treat yourself to a download of this album (you young guys can show off your savvy of rock and roll roots by playing it for your girlfriends).


Jimmy Reed is an exellent blues and jazz musician. This album is a great for anyone who enjoys the blues and a unique raspy voice.

High notes

Jimmy likes rolling with the high notes on his harp, unique, pleasing and satisfying, like cleaning your ears of ear wax. You will like the effect and never foget it! I do not agree that it all sounds alike, but I do agree that it all sounds good.


Born: September 6, 1925 in Leland, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

There's simply no sound in the blues as easily digestible, accessible, instantly recognizable, and as easy to play and sing as the music of Jimmy Reed. His best-known songs -- "Baby, What You Want Me to Do," "Bright Lights, Big City," "Honest I Do," "You Don't Have to Go," "Going to New York," "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby," and "Big Boss Man" -- have become such an integral part of the standard blues repertoire, it's almost as if they have existed forever. Because his style was simple and easily imitated,...
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