Lightnin' Hopkins & The Blues Summit
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An official issue of a much bootlegged studio and live session, Lightnin' Hopkins & the Blues Summit was recorded in Los Angeles on July 6, 1960. Along with Hopkins, in town at the behest of John Lomax Jr., the participants were Big Joe Williams, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee, who were all completing a residency at the Ash Grove nightclub. The first half of the album is a well-lubricated studio jam session, while the even wilder second half takes place at the Ash Grove later that night. Like most straight jam sessions, this is loose to the point of messiness most of the time, with every song but one running well past the five-minute mark, with the foursome trading choruses and solos seemingly at random. Frankly, the whole thing sounds like it's on the verge of collapse three-quarters of the time, which makes moments like the sharp interplay of Terry's harp and Hopkins' finger-picked acoustic in the middle of a rave-up version of "Blues for Gamblers" that much more impressive. However, newcomers to these artists should probably start elsewhere; this is strictly for fans.