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History of Elmore James, Vol. 1

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Album Review

A former radio repairman, Elmore James spent a good deal of time re-wiring his amplifiers, giving him a raw, distorted, and urgent sound on electric guitar that, coupled with his killer slide style, made him the Godfather of modern electric guitar, and few gunslingers can match his intensity or powerful, dirty sound even when armed with a truckload of stomp boxes. He was also a passionate singer, making it is virtually impossible to pick up a bad Elmore James release. This one, however, is on the short side at only thirty-minutes long, and it lacks a version of his signature song, "Dust My Broom," a re-working of the Robert Johnson song that James all but made his own. What's included here is powerful, but there are several Elmore James collections on the market that will give you more bang for the buck.


Born: 27 January 1918 in Richland, MS

Genre: Blues

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

No two ways about it, the most influential slide guitarist of the postwar period was Elmore James, hands down. Although his early demise from heart failure kept him from enjoying the fruits of the '60s blues revival as his contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf did, James left a wide influential trail behind him. And that influence continues to the present time — in approach, attitude and tone — in just about every guitar player who puts a slide on his finger and wails the blues....
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