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The Best of Lightnin' Hopkins

Lightnin' Hopkins

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Album Review

This compilation is a good one-disc introduction to Lightnin' Hopkins' work. For one, it's still in print and relatively easy to find. After being rediscovered during the '60s folk revival, Legacy issued this best-of collection in the late '60s, and the emphasis is on acoustic country blues. It's well nigh impossible to encompass a career as wide as that of Lightnin' Hopkins in a single-disc compilation, but Hopkins' engaging personality, strong vocals, idiosyncratic rhythmic sense, and humor do come across on tunes like "Big Black Cadillac Blues." Also documented are sessions with Brownie McGhee, Sonny Terry, and Big Joe Williams. While maybe not the tightest collaborations, they're loose, chummy, and inviting. If you're looking to get a strong flavor of his trademark Texas country blues without delving too deeply into Hopkins' back catalog, this compilation, arbitrary as it is, will serve well.

Biography

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,...
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