HOUND DOG TAYLOR AND THE HOUSEROCKERS Hound Dog Taylor And The HouseRockers (Alligator) 

Not only is this 1971 album Hound Dog Taylor’s debut, it was also the first to be released on the Alligator label, which was formed specifically to release Taylor’s music after label founder Bruce Iglauer failed to persuade his boss at Delmark to do so. The music that inspired such devotion and industry is a slightly skinny-sounding electric blues, its trebly tilt derived from Taylor’s thin wire of a voice and slicing, scorching slide guitar work.

Effectively replicating their club sound here, The HouseRockers make a crude, rough, unreconstructed noise. Ted Harvey’s flat, slapping drum sound in particular boxes the listener about the ears. There’s none of the bombast that young white Englishmen and Americans had been inflating the blues with in the years prior to the album’s release. Archetypal though Taylor’s own compositions are, especially spirited instrumentals such as “Walking The Ceiling” and “55th Street Boogie”, the standards – “It Hurts Me Too”, “44 Blues” and bonus track “Look On Yonder’s Wall” -are the standouts here, perhaps purely through familiarity.

This 40th anniversary reissue boasts of being remastered on 180 gram vinyl, and it sounds as good as it needs to, at least.