Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection (2-CD Set)
Pledge: $120 ($10/monthly)
Back in 1971, 23-year-old blues fanatic Bruce Iglauer was frustrated and motivated. As a shipping clerk for Bob Koester’s Chicago-based Delmark Records, Iglauer wanted the label to release an album by his favorite band, Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. Koester just wasn’t interested, so Iglauer gathered up what little money he had and decided to do it himself. Recorded live in the studio in just two nights during the spring of 1971, the recordings captured the band at the height of its powers. Hound Dog and his HouseRockers simply plugged in and played the same beat-up guitars through the same raggedy amps they used when they played at blue-collar blues clubs like Florence’s Lounge on the South Side. At a cost of $900, Iglauer produced a direct-to-two-track master tape—no overdubs—which he mixed as they went along. With the remainder of his money, he pressed 1000 copies of Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers. And with that, Alligator Records (named after the way Iglauer clicks out rhythm patterns with his teeth when he likes a song) was born. Fast forward 40 years. Today, proudly independent Alligator Records is home to some of the world’s foremost blues and roots rock talent and is regarded by fans and the media alike as the top contemporary blues record label in the world. Alligator Records celebrates its 45th anniversary in 2016 with the release of The Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Collection. The 2-CD set clearly lays out Iglauer’s wide-ranging blues vision. From the ragged glory of Hound Dog Taylor to the raw Chicago blues of Koko Taylor, Son Seals and Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials to the harmonica workouts of Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton and Rick Estrin to the guitar pyrotechnics of Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Michael “Iron Man” Burks and Anders Osborne to the front porch roots-rock of JJ Grey & Mofro to the gospel soul of Mavis Staples, the one constant is Alligator’s dedication to releasing what has been dubbed “Genuine Houserockin’ Music."