35x35 -- 35 songs, 35 Years of Genuine Houserockin' Music
A chronological journey through the history of Alligator Records, as told by songs from 35 of the label's most memorable debut releases. Two CDs, 35 songs, over 145 minutes of music, plus a detailed 44-page booklet at a single disc price. Contains no repeat tracks from any previous Alligator anniversary title or our Crucial Blues series.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 35 years since Hound Dog Taylor & TheHouseRockers came downtown to Chicago’s Sound Studios to cut that very first Alligator album. There was no thought that this would be the beginning of what has become the most successful contemporary blues label in the world. My only goal was to record my favorite band, exactly as I had heard them in the South Side blues joints. I hoped to capture not just their music, but also some of their soul and spirit. That’s been the mission of Alligator all along—to record blues and roots artists who need to be heard, and to make records that reflect those artists at their best.
To tell the story of the label in 35 songs, we chose to focus on the Alligator debut recordings of some of our most exciting, important and enduring artists. A few of these artists had never recorded before coming to Alligator. Others came to the label to revitalize their careers, or to make their most personal recordings.
It was a tough job deciding which artists to include, because we knew we’d have to leave out so many. In 35 years, we’ve released over 2800 songs. We decided to focus on full album, single artist debuts, so our Living Chicago Blues series isn’t represented here. Nor are our all-star summit meetings, Showdown!, Harp Attack! and Lone Star Shootout. Nor are many other very worthy recordings. And there are some years that are not represented, because our releases in those years were all by artists who had previous Alligator albums.
My thanks go to all the wonderful artists who have chosen to record for Alligator over the years. We’ve been truly blessed. I also want to thank the team who helped choose the songs—Bob DePugh, Tim Kolleth, Marc Lipkin and Kerry Peace—and to every member of the Alligator staff, past and present, whose efforts went into the success of the label.
Choosing these songs brought back a whole host of personal memories. I’ve tried to share some of them with you here.
—Bruce Iglauer, 2006
35 x 35 compiled by Bruce Iglauer, Bob DePugh, Tim Kolleth, Marc Lipkin and Kerry Peace.
Compilation mastered by Dan Stout and Bruce Iglauer at Colossal Mastering, Chicago, IL.
Packaging design by Kevin Niemiec. Alligator logo by Michael Trossman.
Very special thanks to John Ward at Only Blues Music for the 35 x 35 concept.
Engineers who recorded songs on this collection: Stu Black; Alan Hendler; Freddie Breitberg; Francois Poterie; Justin Niebank; Gene Lawson; Steve Mendell; Dominque Samarcq; Ricky Keller; Brendan O’Brien; Jay Shilliday; David Axelbaum; Bill Thompson; Jim Robinson; Bruce Kaphan; Glenn Nishida; John Villani; Nyko Lyras; Jeff Powell; Sam Fishkin; Bill McElroy; Jay Newland; Shawn Berman; Trina Shoemaker; Jason Latshaw; Jared Tuten; Ian Schreier; Jesse Harms and Jim Tullio.
Special thanks to: Bob Koester; Wesley Race; Peter Amft; Dick Flohill; Carey Bell; Jan Loveland; Jim O’Neal; Dave Ungerleider; Mighty Joe Young; Dick Shurman; Richard McLeese; Allison Kaslow; Tad Jones: Dr. John; Quint Davis; Perry Aberli; Didier Tricard; Teddy Slatus; Gordon Kennerly; Ben Sandmel; Mindy Giles; Derek Andrews; Jean-Marie Monestier; Michael Rothschild; Ricky Keller; Ice Cube Slim; Whit Lehnberg; Nancy Wright; Steve Gurr; Bob Greenlee; Arleen Dowd; Kevin Morrow; Pat Ford; Jeannette Clarke; Jas Obrecht; Ken Morton; Thomas Ruf; Jim Gaines; Rocky Brown; Miki Nord; Scott Dirks; Paul Kahn; Vasti Jackson; Larry Hoffman; John Hahn; Buddy Fox; John Snyder; Jimmy Vivino; John Boncimino; Joan Osborne; Whiteman Harris; Doyle Bramhall; Chris Vachon; Lenny Terenzi; Georgina Moore; Brian Brinkerhoff; Jesse Harms; Dave Bartlett and Mike Kappus.
Acknowledgements: Dave Hole, Short Fuse Blues appears on Provogue Records in Europe and Black Cat Records in Australia. Buddy Guy, Stone Crazy! appears on Isabel Records in Europe. Gatemouth Brown’s “She Winked Her Eye” courtesy of Disques Black & Blue of France. Luther Allison, Soul Fixin’ Man appears on Ruf Records in Europe under the title Bad Love.