Blues for Beginners: 10 Top Albums to Get Started With the Blues

Welcome to my first post blues article, here on Rock Era; I’m a huge, perhaps an understatement, fan of the blues, and I thought this would be a great starting point.

When your loved one leaves you for another, when your boss is being a jerk and you hate your job, when you can’t make ends meet or simply just feel bad, baby, you got the Blues. While this is a great simplification of things, it holds true.

You see the Blues as a musical genre, despite the name, is actually uplifting. The musical tones, rhythms, and soul take you out of your misery and bring a spark of hope to you; of course it doesn’t hurt to be drinking too.

The Blues is a multi-genre, a multi-scene music. You have Country and Delta Blues (as in the Mississippi Delta), to inner city Blues of Chicago and Detroit, to the juke joints of New Orleans.

The musicians who traveled from the plantations of the South took the music up North with them, and it led to a musical revolution that until now another is yet to be seen in this magnitude. You have the Blue thanks to Rock N’ Roll.

Not only had the Blues has had great historical and cultural impacts on just the world of music, but also on society as well. I can sit here, write and talk for hours about the Blues, but for today let’s start with 10 Blues albums that any beginner, veteran, or plain music fan can, and quite frankly should, listen to; these albums shaped the music of today. I have added compilation albums as 1) They contain the most relevant material, and 2) They are cheap.

These albums contain classic recordings that have shaped the foundation of Rock N’ Roll and transcend the times, and are important to the legacy of music:

10. ELMORE JAMES “The Very Best of Elmore James”

Key Song: ‘Dust My Broom’


9. LIGHTNIN’ HOPKINS “Blues in My Bottle”

Key Song: ‘Jailhouse Blues’


Key Song: ‘Texas Flood’

7. HOWLIN’ WOLF “Moanin’ in the Moonlight”

Key Song: ‘Smokestack Lightnin’

6. JOHN LEE HOOKER “The Ultimate Collection 1948-1990”

Key Song: ‘Boom Boom’

5. ALBERT KING “Born Under a Bad Sign”

Key Song: ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’

4. SON HOUSE “The Very Best of Son House”

Key Song: ‘Walkin’ Blues’

3. B.B. KING “The Ultimate Collection”

Key Song: ‘How Blue Can You Get’

2. MUDDY WATERS “The Anthology 1947-1972”

Key Song: ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’

1. ROBERT JOHNSON “The Complete Recordings”

Key Song: ‘Crossroads Blues’