Cliff's Picks (Antone's)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Sept. 8, 2000
(Antone's)Antone's Records has been chronicling its style of Texas blues for 15 years now, and though recent tough times have curtailed the local label's output, along comes Cliff's Picks as a sort of celebration of its "new" life. Fourteen tracks from the label's past, hand-picked by label founder Clifford Antone, along with a new "live" cut from Pinetop Perkins serve as fine overview of the label's vision. It also features an interview with Antone, where he recalls a brief anecdote of each of the artists represented on the disc, in his special down-home style. One can't argue with Cliff's Picks (or liner notes by the Chronicle's Margaret Moser); there's some superb blues and a wide range of styles as well. Local legends like Toni Price, Doyle Bramhall, and Lou Ann Barton, storied Texas blues artists like ZuZu Bollin and Barbara Lynn, and national heroes like Perkins, James Cotton, and Doug Sahm are all represented with tracks that exhibit their talents. From the low-down funk of Matt Murphy, to the stark beauty of Sue Foley accompanying herself with just an electric guitar to the searing Chicago style of Eddie Taylor to the sweet soul of Miss Lavelle White, Cliff's Picks is not only a well-selected history of the label, but a glorious celebration of the blues.