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Songs Famed for Sorrow and Joy

Samuel James

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Album Review

Past a certain point in the history of music, it appears as though all (or at least, the vast majority) of blues artists ditched their acoustic guitars in favor of electric instruments, and sought the aid of a band accompaniment. However, if you go back to blues recordings circa the time of say, Robert Johnson, blues initially spotlighted a single person wailing away on an acoustic guitar and also handling singing duties. Come the early 21st century, this early blues style seemed to have been all but forgotten. But then along comes Samuel James, and his 2008 release, Songs Famed for Sorrow. James' second release overall, the entire 13-track set was recorded in five days, and is 100-percent acoustic (with percussion being provided by the beat of James' feet). As a result, tracks such as "Big Black Ben," "One Eyed Katie," and "Sleepy Girl Blues" automatically take you back to the early days of authentic blues. In an era where popular music is becoming increasingly perfect sounding and robotic, Songs Famed for Sorrow proves to be a much-needed alternative.

Songs Famed for Sorrow and Joy, Samuel James
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