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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.

Customer Reviews

Songs Famed For Greatness

I have had the distinct honor of meeting Sam and seeing him play live. This album is one of the best blues albums I've heard and since I bought it, it hasn't left my car stereo. It has everything you could ask for in an album. From the slow, sad melodies of "Mid-December Blues" to the fast paced, raw emotion of "Sunrise Blues" to the electrifying onslaught of guitar in the instrumental "Wooooooo Rosa". My personal favorite is "The Sad Ballad of Ol' Willie Chan". Sam brings all of his talents together and power packs them into one song. The story-telling is incredible and it's what seperates Sam from the field. Anybody, even if you aren't a fan of the blues would love "Big Black Ben" for it's humor and its unyielding rhythm. This cd is a classic...

Genuine, Raw Delta Blues

Absolutley magnificent, simple and raw. Also heard Samuel live in Fall River, Massachusetts when he opened for Sonny Landreth. Even better than the studio version here, especilally strung together with his witty reretoire between numbers.

Sam gets the king badge

All aboard ... the night train.