Blues Music Recommendations Requested (I like B.B. King)

I’m getting into blues music but would appreciate some recommendations on what artist(s) I should check out to expand this interest. Thus far, the musician I’ve enjoyed the most has been B.B. King (less the case for his album with Eric Clapton), perhaps because of his use of the guitar, although music that features another instrument more prominently (e.g., Ray Charles with his piano) could be just as nice. As for who I’ve liked the least within the blues genre, I would say Howlin’ Wolf. Given my tastes, who should I look into and what sub-genre (Chicago, Delta, etc.) would these artists fall?

Thanks a lot.


Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson are my favorites.

I’d recommend getting yourself to a Blues festival to see some different styles in the same weekend. There’s nothing like listening live to find out what you like.
There’s a great one in Wheeling, West Virginia this August 13, 14 and 15.

Go to and create a BB King channel and listen for stuff you like. You’ll probably end up with Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Otis Spann, etc. There’s lots of great blues out there.

You might want to check out Magic Sam… he was a west side Chicago blues man who died wayyy to soon. I’m also a huge fan of that early Fleetwood Mac with Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer… the album they did at the Chess Studios in 1969? is def worth owning…

Otis Spann - Biggest Thing Since Colossus(featuring Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac)

Little Walter: His Best(harmonica)

T-Bone Walker - Complete Imperial Recordings(jump blues - full swing-band orchestration)

Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign

It’s a start.

Buddy Guy & Junior Wells, together or individually are great.

I’ve always had a soft spot for Gatemouth.

Just out of curiosity, what is it you don’t like about Howlin’ Wolf?

For the Buddy Guy I’d recommend the “Buddy and the Juniors” album – “we doesn’t have a bass player or a drummer, we jest felt like playin’.” With Junior Mance on piano and Junior Wells on harp – lots of great showcasing of piano and guitar in particular. My favorite “regular” Guy album is “A Man and His Blues” from the late 1960s, I think.

There are lots of live shows out there of Otis Spann featured prominently with Muddy Waters at festivals and similar, if you run out of listening space on the recorded official albums.

I like the idea of just getting to a blues festival if possible and hearing all kinds of things and taking it from there. Most musicians I know who are at all into rock and blues stuff have all that Ray Charles, Otis Spann, James Booker, Billy Preston stuff in their ears pretty good even if they don’t play keys.


Thanks for the help. I picked up some music by a few of those artists and, thus far, all of your recommendations are right on the money. As for DCnDC’s question, Howlin’ Wolf’s voice just doesn’t blow me away, although I wouldn’t say I dislike his music entirely.


Head over to the library and check out Martin Scorcese’s blues collection “Red, White, and Blues” series. There’s another CD as well you should check out. They’re compilations, and as a blues rookie, I really enjoy them.

If you like B.B. King with Eric Clapton, you should check out Robert Cray - Strong Persuader is an early album that features “Smoking Gun”, which got some play way back when on classic rock radio.

Lot of great suggestions here - Buddy Guy is one of my favorites (and one of the greats). His 1991 “comeback” album, Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues has some classics (“Five Long Years”, “Mustang Sally”) and originals like the title track.

You might also like Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was very well regarded by even the old blues masters (Buddy Guy’s “Rememberin’ Stevie” is dedicated to him), and released only four studio albums in the mid- to late-eighties before his untimely death in 1990.

Cray is still around, still recording and performing, and still great. He’s worth listening to, not only for his gorgeous tone and creative songwriting and playing, but as a reminder that blues isn’t dead, it’s still alive and well and evolving.

Also worth a listen is Stevie Ray’s older brother Jimmie. A bit less flashy that Stevie Ray was, but, to some, the better guitarist.

My personal favorite is Albert Collins, the Master of the Telecaster. His album with Johnny Copeland and Robert Cray, Showdown! won a Grammy for best traditional blues album of the year in 1986.

You might also like Willie Dixon, who’s more traditional blues.

I’d also suggest looking at the Alligator Records site (warning: music plays automatically) to see if there are artists there you might be interested in learning more about. (Lonnie Mack is another great player, in my opinion.)

For female artists, I’m a fan of Marcia Ball.

There’s a universe of blues out there, from the aforementioned Robert Johnson to cutting edge stuff. Like everything else, there’s some crap, but a lot of it is some real kick-ass music, and there’s just nothing like it.

What I’d suggest you pick up, for a good sampling of rock and blues, is the two Crossroads video collections.

For more information, check the Wiki link, it lists the performers.

EVERYONE who was anyone is there. Or who would be anyone - Orianthi was in the 2007 one, and did a stellar turn. She’s the one with the pop hit ‘According to You’.
Yeah, there’s B.B. King. And yeah, he’s jamming. He’s not looking so good in the 2007 one, though.

The thing I like most about the blues is the guitar. So, BB King is one of my favorites. If the guitar is what’s grabbing you, you should check out Stevie Ray Vaughn and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Eric Clapton has some very good stuff, but for me he’s a little hit-and-miss, so it takes some effort to pick out the gems. John Lee Hooker is a great blues man.

Let’s talk about blues that crossed over into pop.

Creedence Clearwater Revival was basically a blues band.

The Doors did a lot of blues, though they’re not really a blues band. Some of their blues numbers:
Back Door Man
Been Down So Long
Build Me a Woman
Cars Hiss By My Window
The Changeling
Close to You
Crawling King Snake
Hyacinth House
The Spy
The Woman Is a Devil

Elvis has lots of blues numbers. Also Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Patsy Cline, Van Morrison, Pinetop Perkins.

If you want individual song names, let me know.

Some other artists/bands that have several blues numbers:
George Thorogood
Janis Joplin
Canned Heat

Ditto for Robert Cray. Also, check out the late great Roy Buchanan, especially if you like guitar.

Another favorite is Clarence Gatemouth Brown, here doing Song for Renee, my favorite, because of the fiddle.