Cover art included, liner notes not included
recorded a lot in the early '60s, including some classic sides, but they never quite hit the mark. They never gained a large audience, nor did they really capture the ferocity of his single-string leads. Then he signed with Stax in 1966 and recorded a number of sessions with the house band, , and everything just clicked. gave supple Southern support, providing an excellent contrast to his tightly wound lead guitar, allowing to him to unleash a torrent of blistering guitar runs that were profoundly influential, not just in blues, but in rock & roll (witness 's unabashed copping of throughout 's ). Initially, these sessions were just released as singles, but they were soon compiled as 's Stax debut, . Certainly, the concentration of singles gives the album a consistency -- these were songs devised to get attention -- but, years later, it's astounding how strong this catalog of songs is: "Born Under a Bad Sign," "Crosscut Saw," "Oh Pretty Woman," "The Hunter," "Personal Manager," and "Laundromat Blues" form the very foundation of 's musical identity and legacy. Few blues albums are this on a cut-by-cut level; the songs are exceptional and the performances are rich, from 's dynamic playing to the Southern funk of . It was immediately influential at the time and, over the years, it has only grown in stature as one of the very greatest electric blues albums of all time.