There's really no sound in the blues as easily digestible, accessible, instantly recognizable, or as easy to play and sing as the music of Jimmy Reed. His best-known songs have become such an integral part of the standard blues repertoire, it's almost as if they have existed forever.
Elvis Presley covered Jimmy Reed, and so did The Rolling Stones and numerous hopeful garage bands, making him in reality one of the most influential bluesmen in history.
Many, many Jimmy Reed compilations have been released over the past forty years, including several repackagings of his classic 50s Vee-Jay material. Some of these compilations have been excellent, particularly the superb 1993 collection "Speak The Lyrics To Me, Mama Reed", while others have been really shabby, and since many of them have featured the same basic songs, it's kinda hard to discern which are worthwhile and which aren't.
Fortunately, Rhino's 2000 Blues Masters release provides first-timers with the ideal introductory package, presenting seventeen songs, including virtually all the very best of Reed's simple but supremely catchy boogie.
"Baby What You Want Me To Do" is here, perhaps the single most covered blues tune of all time, and so is "Shame, Shame, Shame", "You Got Me Dizzy", "Ain't That Loving You Baby", "You Don't Have To Go", "Big Boss Man", and many more. This one, and Recall's "Big Boss Man", are right at the top of a long list of Jimmy Reed compilations.