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Short Haired Woman

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Album Review

There's no shortage of Lightnin' Hopkins compilations out there, and Short Haired Woman is only distinguished by its relatively good sound quality — not a surprise since everything here was professionally recorded in the years 1946-1949 — and decent if superficial annotation, giving a general overview of the man's career. There's no particular order, either, though the makers have placed Hopkins' solo sides ahead of his somewhat earlier sides with Thunder Smith. In a way, they've saved the best for last, in that those sides tend to feature flashier playing and a bolder, less subdued singing style and selection of material, while the later sides show a more studied, subtly sophisticated sound. Of course, all of it — but especially the later sides — represents precisely the kinds of playing that helped directly inspire any number of younger white guitarists to start playing, as the '50s rolled around, so the truly underground roots of rock & roll can be heard here. The price is right, given the limits on the packaging, though any longtime fan is almost certain to have the stuff represented here in some form.


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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