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Blues from the Delta

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Album Review

Drawing 18 tracks from Skip James' rediscovery recordings made on Vanguard Records — Today! and Devil Got My Woman, plus two previously unreleased tracks — Blues From the Delta is over 75 minutes of the best tracks James ever recorded. Where the definitive cuts of many of these songs haven't been preserved by modern technology without considerable flaws, these tracks, recorded in 1966 and 1968 (respectively), are clear and crisp, highlighting James' tremendous talents. Though it had been 35 years since James first recording sessions, he still possessed his spooky melodic sense, his distinctive guitar and piano playing, and the eerie falsetto that made his original recordings so sought after. These might not be the most historically relevant versions of James' quintessential works, but they are by no means inferior, and on the whole, are much easier to listen to.


Born: June 21, 1902 in Bentonia, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Among the earliest and most influential Delta bluesmen to record, Skip James was the best-known proponent of the so-called Bentonia school of blues players, a genre strain invested with as much fanciful scholarly "research" as any. Coupling an oddball guitar tuning set against eerie, falsetto vocals, James' early recordings could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Even more surprising was when blues scholars rediscovered him in the '60s and found his singing and playing skills intact....
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Blues from the Delta, Skip James
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