Series/Orbis/Blues Collection

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"The Blues Confusion" : An attempt to peer through the fog

Between 1993 and 1997, Orbis Publishing released a partworks series entitled "The Blues Collection". The series comprised 90 fortnightly issues, each including a thin magazine-sized biography (each 12 pages long) and an album on CD or cassette tape. There were also two bonus issues, both (confusingly) entitled "The Blues at Christmas : The Very Best of the Blues", released midway through the collection but with the catalog numbers BLU NCC 093 and BLU NCC 094. This same series was released by Orbis in Germany, starting in 1994, and also by DeAgostini in the Netherlands and Belgium.

However, it appears that for whatever reason, Orbis re-sequenced the issues between the initial UK release and subsequent releases. This page attempts to document the discrepancies between the releases as an aid to MusicBrainz editors.

Furthermore, it appears that only 75 CDs were released in Germany.

The Australian release of this series omitted 6 titles for legal (copyright?) reasons - Little Milton, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Boyd, Willie Dixon, Robert Nighthawk & Forrest City Joe and finally Jimmy McCracklin. Citation

Pending further information from my contact at DeAgostini UK, here is a list of all the known releases with known catalog numbers. The last column indicates a mismatch in the sequence numbers between releases, which would require clones to be created in the MusicBrainz database.

It appears that some of the German catalog numbers listed here do not match entries at discogs.com . e.g. BLU GNC 030 and BLU GNC 046 turn up entirely different results. Further clarification required.

Misprints and mixups

Additionally, at least one misprint occurred during the course of the print runs.

Due to a printing mistake, when issue 83 (Jimmy Johnson: Country Preacher) of the UK run was originally published, the CD contained the music from issue 57 (Eddie Vinson: Cleanhead Blues). Citations: 1, 2. Subscribers were sent a corrected CD with the next issue, but in many cases this may have been lost or misfiled, particularly as the two CDs are not distinguishable by sight.

The mistake is particularly liable to cause confusion not only because the case of the misprinted CD contained liner notes for issue 83, but also because the track listing for issue 83 was printed on the CD itself! The only way to determine whether you have the misprinted CD or the corrected one is to listen to it - on CD 57, Eddie Vinson cries Wait a Minute Baby at almost exactly a minute into track 2; CD 83, on the other hand, opens with Jimmy Johnson announcing I'm Just Like a Country Preacher within the first 20 or 30 seconds of the first track.

Artist Album UK Catalog # UK Release Year DE Catalog # DE Release Year DeAgostini Catalog # DeAgostini Release Year Mismatch
John Lee Hooker Boogie Man BLU NC 001 1993 BLU GNC 001 1994 BLUES N002 1994 *
B.B. King The King of the Blues BLU NC 002 1993 BLU NC 002G BLUES N001 1994 *
Chuck Berry Blues Berry BLU NC 003 1993 BLU NC 003G BLUES N005 1994 *
Buddy Guy Stone Crazy BLU NC 004 1993 BLU NC 004G 1993 BLUES N007 1994 *
Bo Diddley Jungle Music BLU NC 005 1993 BLU GNC 005 1993 BLUES N008 1994 *
Robert Johnson Red Hot Blues BLU NC 006 1993 BLU GNC 006 1993 BLUES N009 1994 *
Howlin' Wolf London Sessions BLU NC 007 1993 BLU GNC 007 1994 BLUES N010 1994 *
John Mayall New Bluesbreakers BLU NC 008 1993 BLU GNC 008 BLUES N011 1994 *
Bessie Smith Classic Blues BLU NC 009 1993 BLU GNC 009 BLUES N012 1994 *
Sonny Boy Williamson Nine Below Zero BLU NC 010 1994 BLU GNC 010 BLUES N013 1994 *
Muddy Waters Chicago Blues BLU NC 011 1994 BLU GNC 011 BLUES N004 1994 *
Little Richard Long Tall Sally BLU NC 012 1994 BLU GNC 012 BLUES N014 1995 *
Memphis Slim Beer Drinkin' Woman BLU NC 013 1994 BLU GNC 013 BLUES N015 1995 *
Eric Clapton & the Yardbirds Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds BLU NC 014 1994 BLU GNC 014 BLUES N006 1994 *
Fats Domino Be My Guest BLU NC 015 1994 BLU GNC 015 BLUES N003 1994 *
T-Bone Walker Stormy Monday Blues BLU NC 016 1994 BLU GNC 016 BLUES N016 1995
Elmore James Dust My Broom BLU NC 017 1994 BLU GNC 017 BLUES N017 1995
Jimmy Reed You Don't Have To Go BLU NC 018 1994 BLU GNC 018 BLUES N018 1995
Otis Rush I Can't Quit You Baby BLU NC 019 1994 BLU GNC 019 BLUES N019 1995
Little Walter Boss Blues Harmonica BLU NC 020 1994 BLU GNC 020
Magic Sam All Your Love BLU NC 021 1994 BLU GNC 021 BLUES N020 1995 *
Lowell Fulson West Coast Blues BLU NC 022 1994 BLU GNC 022
Bukka White Parchman Farm Blues BLU NC 023 1994 BLU GNC 023
Jimmy Witherspoon Ain't Nobody's Business BLU NC 024 1994 BLU GNC 024
Robert Cray Who's Been Talkin' BLU NC 025 1994 BLU GNC 025
Albert King Blues Power BLU NC 026 1994 BLU GNC 026
Big Bill Broonzy Whiskey and Good Time Blues BLU NC 027 1994 BLU GNC 027
Louis Jordan Caldonia BLU NC 028 1994 BLU GNC 028
Koko Taylor Wang Dang Doodle BLU NC 029 1994 BLU GNC 029
Leadbelly Midnight Special BLU NC 030 1994 BLU GNC 030
Lightnin' Hopkins Texas Blues BLU NC 031 1994 BLU GNC 031
Otis Spann My Home In The Delta BLU NC 032 1994 BLU GNC 032
Earl Hooker & Junior Wells Earl Hooker & Junior Wells BLU NC 033 1994 BLU GNC 033
J.B. Lenoir Eisenhower Blues BLU NC 034 1994 BLU GNC 034
Clarence Gatemouth Brown Just Got Lucky BLU NC 035 1994 BLU GNC 035
Big Joe Williams Baby Please Don't Go BLU NC 036 1995 BLU GNC 036
J.B. Hutto Pet Cream Man BLU NC 037 1995 BLU GNC 037
Big Maceo Worried Life Blues BLU NC 038 1995 BLU GNC 038
Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee Walk On BLU NC 039 1995 BLU GNC 039
Lonnie Brooks Reconsider Baby BLU NC 040 1995 BLU GNC 040
Memphis Jug Bands Walk Right In BLU NC 041 1995 BLU GNC 041
Clifton Chenier Frenchin' The Blues BLU NC 042 1995 BLU GNC 042
Blind Willie McTell Statesboro Blues BLU NC 043 1995 BLU GNC 043
Luther Allison Rich Man BLU NC 044 1995
Fred McDowell Mississippi Blues BLU NC 045 1995 BLU GNC 045
Roosevelt Sykes '44' Blues BLU NC 046 1995
"Arthur ""Big Boy"" Crudup" Rock me Mama BLU NC 047 1995 BLU GNC 046 *
Little Milton Stand By Me BLU NC 048 1995
Charlie Patton Pony Blues BLU NC 049 1995 BLU GNC 047 *
Big Joe Turner Roll 'em BLU NC 050 1995 BLU GNC 048 *
Tampa Red The Guitar Wizard BLU NC 051 1995 BLU GNC 049 *
Frank Frost Downhome Blues BLU NC 052 1995 BLU GNC 050 *
Sleepy John Estes Drop Down Mama BLU NC 053 1995 BLU GNC 051 *
Jimmy Rogers That's All Right BLU NC 054 1995
Blind Boy Fuller Heart Ease Blues BLU NC 055 1995 BLU GNC 052 *
Johnny Copeland Texas Party BLU NC 056 1995 BLU GNC 053 *
Eddie Vinson Cleanhead Blues BLU NC 057 1995 BLU GNC 057
Eddie Boyd Third Degree BLU NC 058 1995
Champion Jack Dupree Junker's Blues BLU NC 059 1995 BLU GNC 044 *
Willie Dixon Little Red Rooster BLU NC 060 1995
Furry Lewis & Frank Stokes Beale Street Blues BLU NC 061 1995 BLU GNC 061
Screamin' Jay Hawkins Blues Shouter BLU NC 062 1996 BLU GNC 062
Robert Nighthawk & Forrest City Joe Robert Nighthawk & Forrest City Joe BLU NC 063 1996
Professor Longhair Live in London BLU NC 064 1996 BLU GNC 064
Victoria Spivey Moaning the Blues BLU NC 065 1996 BLU GNC 065
Jimmy McCracklin San Francisco Blues BLU NC 066 1996
Magic Slim Grand Slam BLU NC 067 1996 BLU GNC 067
Piano Red Live and Feelin' Good BLU NC 068 1996 BLU GNC 068
Walter Horton Shuffle & Swing BLU NC 069 1996 BLU GNC 069
Various Artists Hillbilly Blues BLU NC 070 1996 BLU GNC 070
Charles Brown Drifting Blues BLU NC 071 1996 BLU GNC 071
Carey & Lurrie Bell Father & Son BLU NC 072 1996 BLU GNC 072
Various Artists Blues Women BLU NC 073 1996 BLU GNC 073
Lonnie Johnson Guitar Blues BLU NC 074 1996 BLU GNC 074
Snooks Eaglin Heavy Juice BLU NC 075 1996 BLU GNC 075
Memphis Minnie Let's Go To Town BLU NC 076 1996 BLU GNC 054 *
Phillip Walker Steppin' Up in Class BLU NC 077 1996 BLU GNC 055 *
Various Artists Texas Blues BLU NC 078 1996 BLU GNC 056 *
James Booker New Orleans Keyboard King BLU NC 079 1996 BLU GNC 058 *
Various Artists Thirties' Blues BLU NC 080 1996 BLU GNC 060 *
Louisiana Red Pretty Woman BLU NC 081 1996 BLU GNC 063 *
Peetie Wheatstraw The Devil's Son-In-Law BLU NC 082 1996 BLU GNC 066 *
Jimmy Johnson Country Preacher BLU NC 083 1996 BLU GNC 059 *
Various Artists East Coast Blues BLU NC 084 1996
Mance Lipscomb Songster BLU NC 085 1996
Leroy Carr Naptown Blues BLU NC 086 1996
Johnny Shines Ramblin' Blues BLU NC 087 1996
Cecil Gant Blues in L.A. BLU NC 088 1997
Dr. Ross The Flying Eagle BLU NC 089 1997
Wynonie Harris Around the Clock Blues BLU NC 090 1997
Various Artists The Blues at Christmas : The Very Best of the Blues BLU NCC 93 1993
Various Artists The Blues at Christmas II: The Very Best of the Blues BLU NCC 94 1994