Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lightnin' Hopkins - Dirty's Triple Set : Hootin' the Blues (1965) , How Many More Years I Got (1962) and Flash Lightnin' (1988).


The most important part of Lightnin' Hopkins' career was spent in juke joints in Houston, but during the early 1960s, he also became a star along the folk circuit, playing clubs that catered mostly to college students eager to hear authentic acoustic blues. Several of those shows were recorded over the years to capitalize, and while the albums don't have the same importance as Hopkins' classic blues sides of the 1940s and 1950s, they do show another side of the man, and one he seemed to take to very naturally. Hootin' The Blues is one of Hopkins' better folk club concerts, capturing him in an intense performance on acoustic guitar, rapping (in the sense of talking) about the blues and what it means as he introduces some powerful songs: "Blues Is a Feeling," "In the Evenin'," and "Meet Me in the Bottom," among others. The best moment, though, is his reinvention of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" as an acoustic guitar number (trust me, it works), which displays the kind of fingering that must've made a young Eric Clapton want to sit down and cry. 


Though he had been performing since the 1920s, Texas bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins was a fresh face to the majority of the young folk audiences of the 1960s. On the verge of drifting into obscurity, the singer had been rediscovered by enthusiast Mack McCormick and promoted to college crowds as a singer/guitarist in the folk-blues mold. What followed was a series of albums cut both solo and with session musicians for a variety of labels. How Many More Years I Got was one of the earliest. The players here are extremely loose, betraying a casual interest in the task at hand. They sound like a group of borrowed session men, but were in fact a small combo familiar both with each other and Hopkins himself. Bassist Donald Cooks, pianist Buster Pickens, drummer "Spider" Kilpatrick, and Hopkins' harp-playing cousin, Billy Bizor, all played on a number of the guitarist's dates during the early '60s. Hopkins was apparently reluctant to do second takes, however, and these recordings show it. The singer leads the group with his relaxed lines and Kilpatrick follows, further defining the tempo with the light, stiff patter of his drums. Bizor occasionally plays the role of catalyst, though his moans, hollers, and vocal/harmonica dialogues do little to increase the interest of his partners. Things pick up slightly during the album's second half, though even then the performances hardly approach the level of Hopkins' solo sides from the period, let alone his best work.

Again Allmusic gives 4.5 star rate and no review... This is another great collection.

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mp3 192 kbps - 190 Mb

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