This Week's Releases: Koko Taylor, Joe Ely, Steve Earle ...

B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd among blues stars paying tribute to Taylor on her Royal Blue.

  • Alberta Adams, Say Baby Say: Life's Trials and Tribulations According to Miss Alberta Adams (Cannonball) — Return of "Detroit's Queen of the Blues" features clutch of hard-lived hard-luck tales and a duet with label mate Johnnie Bassett on "Nothing More to Say."

  • Merrie Amsterburg, Little Steps (Zoe/Rounder) — Acclaimed Boston folk-popster is known best for distinctive songwriting but also demonstrates her facility on variety of instruments on this 12-song follow-up to Season of Rain.

  • John Campbelljohn Trio, Hook, Slide & Sinker (Nood Records) — Re-release of indie album by blues-rock band led by award-winning Canadian slide guitarist, John Campbelljohn, inspired by Delta blues, Eric Clapton and Sonny Landreth's Louisiana slide.

  • Nick Curran, Fixin' Your Head (Texas Jamboree) — The Dallas blues guitarist, who names T-Bone Walker and Johnny "Guitar" Watson among his influences, rips through 13 traditional jump blues tunes, including "Women and Cadillacs," "Good Rockin' Man, "Lonely Nights," "Loose Lip Mama."

  • Rev. Gary Davis, I Am the True Vine (Catfish) — Reissue of early recordings by the acoustic blues-folk guitarist who many came to know via Jackson Browne's 1970s reworking of "Cocaine."

  • Steve Earle, Transcendental Blues (E2) — Having stunned listeners with his reverence for bluegrass and his landmark collaboration with the Del McCoury Band, Earle returns to slightly more familiar, rock-informed turf. Songs include the Beatles-influenced "Everyone's in Love With You," "Steve's Last Ramble" (recorded in Dublin with Irish accordion player Sharon Shannon) and "When I Fall," a duet with sister Stacey Earle.

  • Joe Ely, Live at Antone's (Rounder) — Critics' darling — considered by many the epitome of Texas music with his singular folk/country/Tex-Mex/rock sound — delivers a spate of his popular originals ("Me and Billy the Kid," "Everybody Got Hammered") on 15-song live disc that captures him in his natural milieu: an Austin roadhouse. Also covers songs by fellow Flatlanders Jimmie Dale Gilmore ("Dallas") and Butch Hancock ("Road Hawg"), as well as Robert Earl Keane ("The Road Goes on Forever") and Tom Russell ("Gallo del Cielo").

  • Dan Fogelberg, Live: Something Old, New, Borrowed, & Some Blues (Chicago Records) — Live album includes several hits from the early years of Fogelberg's sturdy career, as well as some surprising covers: Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues," Muddy Waters' "Blow Wind Blow," Jesse Colin Young's "Songbird," Poco's "You Better Think Twice" (performed with Timothy B. Schmit of the Eagles) and George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun."

  • Julie Gold, Try Love (Gadfly) — Gold toured and recorded an album with the Bitchin' Babes folk quartet with Christine Lavin, but she's best known as the author of the Grammy-winning "From a Distance," the song that gave stratospheric career boosts to Nanci Griffith and Bette Midler. Songs include "Tiger in New Jersey," "Southbound Train" (also recorded by Griffith), "(No) Justice" and "The Journey" (recently recorded by Regis' favorite sparring partner, Kathie Lee Gifford).

  • Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Greatest Hits (Classic World) — Repackaging of nine songs from the bizarrely unpredictable (emerging from coffins was just one quirk of his onstage act) entertainer; titles include "I've Got You Under My Skin," "I Put a Spell on You," "Time After Time."

  • Terri Hendrix, Places in Between (Wilory Records) — Upbeat Texas singer-songwriter adds more rock and percussive textures to her rootsy folk-pop sound with the help of producer Lloyd Maines and guests such as Bukka Allen and Bad Livers banjoist Danny Barnes. Fifteen tracks, including a cover of the folk-blues traditional "Motherless Children."

  • Alberta Hunter, Beale Street Blues (Magnum Collectors) — Compilation of classy chestnuts recorded by the woman who wrote the Bessie Smith hit "Down Hearted Blues" before leaving music to become a nurse and later being "rediscovered," post-retirement, and fussed over for her soundtrack contributions to Alan Rudolph's 1978 film "Remember My Name."

  • James Intveld, Somewhere Down the Road (Molenaart) — The acclaimed roots rocker wraps his silky vocals around 12 songs that range from country to rockabilly and some Appalachian-flavored acoustic ballads.

  • Steve James, Boom Chang (Burnside Records) — The label that introduced acoustic folk-blues slide guitarist Kelly Joe Phelps is behind this similarly earthy acoustic roots/blues effort, which features guest contributions from Alvin Youngblood Hart and Gary Primich.

  • Candye Kane, Toughest Girl Alive (Bullseye/Rounder) — The unconventional singer stirs up blues, swing and R&B with musical compadres including Dave Alvin and Marcia Ball. Tunes include "I'm the Toughest Girl Alive," "Who Do You Love?" and "(Hey Mister!) She Was My Baby Last Night."

  • Rosie Ledet, It's a Groove Thing (Maison de Soul) — The latest release from the feisty accordion-playing singer/songwriter for the tiny Louisiana label. Twelve songs, including "Creole Angel," "String Beans at Rock N Bowl" and "Something Wicked."

  • Memphis Minnie, Me and My Chauffeur Blues (AIM) — The much-admired, pioneering blues singer and guitarist plays 18 songs, including the title track, "Hot Stuff," "Down by the Riverside," "Ice Man (Come on Up)," "It's Hard to Be Mistreated."

  • D.L. Menard, D.L. Menard Sings "The Back Door" and His Other Cajun Hits (Swallow) — Like the title says, the venerated Cajun accordionist sings his career-making classic, "The Back Door," plus 11 others, including irreverent titles like "Valse de Jolly Rogers," "It's Too Late You're Divorced" and "Riches of a Musician."

  • Rod Price, Open (Burnside) — Solo debut from Foghat's lead guitarist, dedicated to the memory of former bandmate Lonesome Dave Peverett, lets Price express his love of Chicago blues and fiery slide guitar.

  • Reckless Kelly, Acoustic: Live at Stubb's (Valley) — Second album from energetic lineup voted Best Roots-Rock/Americana band at the Austin Music Awards, recorded at the renowned Austin barbecue joint. Fourteen songs include "Homesick," "Subterranean," "She Sang the Red River Valley," "Eight More Miles."

  • Harmonica Slim, Cold Tacos & Warm Beer (Fedora) — Latest Fedora release from the Texas blues harmonica player, joined here by label mate Hosea Leavy.

  • Memphis Slim, Blues at Midnight (Catfish) — Reissue of 1960s recordings by the influential Memphis-born pianist, who exiled himself to Europe in 1962 and died in Paris in 1988.

  • Jerry and Tammy Sullivan, Tomorrow (Ceili Music) — This 12-song bluegrass gospel album, produced by longtime Sullivans fan Marty Stuart, includes a bonus instrumental track and interviews by Stuart in which Jerry Sullivan explains the family's faith and gospel tradition and Tammy Sullivan (also heard singing as a tyke) discusses her musical calling.

  • Roosevelt Sykes, Honeydripper (AIM) — Reissue of '60s release. Nine songs of the exuberant pianist's happy blues, including "Jailbait," "Pocketful of Money," "I Hate to Be Alone."

  • Koko Taylor, Royal Blue (Alligator) — The recent recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Blues Foundation, who reportedly raised a few eyebrows when she sang "Wang Dang Doodle" at Hillary Clinton's birthday bash, hooks up with guests B.B. King, Keb' Mo', Johnny Johnson and, for a cover of rocker Melissa Etheridge's "Somebody Bring Me Some Water," Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

  • Kipori "Baby Wolf" Woods, Big Black Cadillac (Louisiana Red Hot) — Second album of fret fire and grooves from the audacious, award-winning guitarist/singer/songwriter — offspring of a musical Louisiana family, and taught by Ellis Marsalis — who is well-known on the New Orleans club scene. Twelve songs, including "Don't Look Don't Touch," "They Call Me Baby Wolf," "I Had a Dream" and "The Day I Started Playing the Blues."

  • Various artists, Original Memphis Blues Brothers (Ace) — Reissue of electric Memphis blues nuggets by the likes of Bobby Bland, B.B. King, Little Junior Parker, Ike Turner and others.

  • Jim Weider and the Honky-Tonk Gurus, Big Foot (PGI/EKG) — Solo project from bluesy lead guitarist of The Band, with whom he's been touring since 1985, originally released last year on Dreamsville in Japan. Garth Hudson and the late Rick Danko also appear.

    (Click here for a full report on this week's releases.)