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The Guitar Masters Collection: Lightnin' Hopkins

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Album Review

Far from being an actual "best of," The Very Best of Lightin' Hopkins comes off as being a largely nonessential purchase — many classic songs are absent and there's a lack of detailed liner notes to even denote which period the tracks are taken from. That's not to say the material selected isn't consistently engaging, with tunes like "Trouble in Mind," "Shaggy Dad," and the classic "See See Rider" being standouts among the 16 tracks. Contributions from Luke "Long Gone" Miles, Big Joe Williams, Brownie McGhee, and Sonny Terry highlight the collection as well. Most of the tracks, though, sound like alternate takes from other Hopkins sessions and some of the live tracks included are far from essential. Overall, there are bound to be better compilations on the market for similar prices.


Born: 15 March 1912 in Centerville, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Sam Hopkins was a Texas country bluesman of the highest caliber whose career began in the 1920s and stretched all the way into the 1980s. Along the way, Hopkins watched the genre change remarkably, but he never appreciably altered his mournful Lone Star sound, which translated onto both acoustic and electric guitar. Hopkins' nimble dexterity made intricate boogie riffs seem easy, and his fascinating penchant for improvising lyrics to fit whatever situation might arise made him a beloved blues troubadour....
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