When Bruce Iglauer started Alligator records in a neighbourhood on the south side of Chicago back in 1970, little did he realize the giant impact his tiny label would have on the world of blues. In the years since, the label would release a compilation called Genuine Houserockin’ Music every 5 years,  that I would snap up as soon as I could get my hot little hands on it. It all started when Bruce used his savings to finance a recording by his favorite windy city blues band, Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers. It was that album that created the necessity of the label, so it is only fitting that the first cut on this 50th anniversary compilation is from that classic band.

This new collection, 50 years in the making, is a powerful and lasting tribute to all the artists who have graced the label over the last five decades. But this collection is more than just a set of songs by various artists. It is a labour of love showcasing a who’s who of blues, past, present and future.

Many of the artists featured are gone now, lost to the mists of time, and yet their music lives on. Past legends like Koko Taylor, James Cotton, Big Walter Horton, Johnny Winter and Luther Allison all recorded under the Alligator banner and left a legacy of music unlike any other. It is only fitting that they are all part of this release, respect paid for music that shook the world.

Present artists are well represented on this album with cuts from Marcia Ball, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Coco Montoya, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, JJ Grey & Mofro and Tinsley Ellis. They are a telling line up of power players in modern blues, all of whom have been part of the Alligator family.
The future is bright with artists like Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Shemekia Copeland, Curtis Salgado, Selwyn Birchwood and Toronzo Cannon, all breaking new ground as part of the Alligator family. They are the vanguard, standing on the shoulders of giants, bringing the blues into the 21st century.

If you are new to the blues, and are looking for a guide, a sign post to brilliant blues from the last 50 years, I highly recommend this collection. Bring it home, put it on the player, and let your soul run free through 50 years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music. (Terry Parsons)

July 2021 - Christone “Kingfish” Ingram