40th Anniversary Collection

How do you celebrate your landmark anniversaries? If you’re Bruce Iglauer, the owner and main producer of Chicago’s Alligator Records, you collect some of your artists’ best tracks and release the results, a practice Iglauer began in 1996 when his two-CD 25th Anniversary Collection came out. Like the subsequent 30th and 35th compilations, they featured many of the same musicians but with selections chosen from different albums. All, however, have included something from Hound Dog Taylor and The Houserockers, the band that got Iglauer so fired up after hearing them in a Chicago club that he waxed them for his first record. The band’s motto gave the fledgling label a slogan—“Genuine Houserockin’ Music”—that still serves to describe Alligator’s output. Although the label gradually expanded, as Iglauer puts it, “to include … musicians and songwriters who have taken the spirit of the blues and created their own sounds and styles … our mission has remained the same—to record honest, blues-infused music that moves the feet and soothes the soul.” And so, from nearly 300 albums, Iglauer has chosen 38 tracks that encompass his vision and feature such (now) widely known artists as Albert “The Master of the Telecaster” Collins, Koko Taylor, Son Seals, Charlie Musselwhite and Katie Webster, plus newer talents like Anders Osborn, Janiva Magness and JJ Grey & Mofro. Two CDs for the price of one—such a deal!