The second volume of Bear Family's four-part electric blues series Plug It In! Turn It Up!
features the years 1954-1967 but that's slightly misleading, as much of the latter years are bunched up on the third disc, which rounds up 29 significant instrumentals. The rest of the collection concentrates on continuing the story the first volume began, as West Coast, Delta, and Chicago blues all began to swing harder and play louder, working their way onto rock & roll jukeboxes as they did so. Some of these singles do play like rock & roll -- that's particularly true of Bo Diddley
's heavy-footed rumble and Hank Ballard
's easy shuffle on "Look at Little Sister" -- but this is primarily devoted to electrified blues that jolts and jumps like a bare wire. There are plenty of big names and classics here, songs that would later be standards in any number of house bands across the country: "Kansas City," "I'm Ready," "My Babe," "I'm a Man," "I Wish You Wouldn't," "I Can't Quit You Baby," "Got My Mojo Working," "I'm a King Bee," "Texas Flood," "Kansas City," "Baby What You Want Me to Do," "The Sky Is Crying," "Wham!," "Frosty." It's a crash course in history that plays like a party, even on that third disc of high-octane instrumentals.