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Country Blues

Lightnin' Hopkins

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Album Review

While Hopkins in his prime could crank out as many albums as there were days in the week (and sometimes more), some dates were more inspired than others and this casual recording is happily one of those times. In 1959, armed with nothing more than a single microphone mono tape recorder, folklorist Mack McCormick recorded Hopkins in an informal setting in hopes of catching some rough-edged performances that he felt were lacking from the bluesman's then-recent studio efforts. That he succeeded mightily is evidenced in this 15-song collection, almost casual in the way Lightnin' tosses off themes, lyrics, and emotion in a most cavalier fashion. Even with a thorough Sonic Solution No Noise process cleansing, these tapes still contain vocal and instrument distortion in spots where Hopkins got too close to the microphone. But none of it matters in the end, for here is Lightnin' truly in his element, playing for his friends and his own enjoyment, minus the comercial overlay of the times or the imposed "folk blues" posturing of his later acoustic recordings. Not the place to start, but a real good place to visit along the way.

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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Country Blues, Lightnin' Hopkins
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