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Skip James – Complete Early Recordings 1930 [2009]

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Skip James – Complete Early Recordings 1930 [2009]

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1. Devil Got My Woman
2. Cypress Grove Blues
3. Little Cow And Calf Is Gonna Die Blues
4. Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues
5. Drunken Spree
6. Cherry Ball Blues play
7. Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader
8. Illinois Blues
9. How Long "Buck"
10. 4 O'Clock Blues
11. 22-20 Blues play
12. Hard Luck Child
13. If You Haven't Any Hay Get On Down The Road
14. Be Ready When He Comes
15. Yola My Blues Away
16. I'm So Glad
17. What Am I To Do Blues
18. Special Rider Blues

Skip James (vocals, guitar, piano).

 

The Complete Early Recordings CD showcases a true guitar virtuoso who was no slouch on the piano either. His break on "Illinois Blues" is almost off-putting in the nonchalance with which he twists the notes around, and "How Long 'Buck'" features him giving forth some funky piano in an almost playful manner. This is a remastered edition of an earlier Yazoo collection, and features the same 18 songs that appeared on Document's Complete Recorded Works, but the sound quality is still a problem at times. High-quality sources for "What Am I to Do Blues," "4 O'Clock Blues," and several other of the numbers here are simply not known to exist, but these are the best-known editions of the songs until better 78 discs happen to turn up (if ever). Regardless of the surface noise, it is a delight listening to James' rippling guitar run on "4 O'Clock Blues" or his piano improvising (and improvising the percussion by pounding away with his feet) on "20-20 Blues." And his fiercely intense original rendition of "I'm So Glad" makes the repopularized version by Eric Clapton and Cream from the 1960s seem like easygoing pop. Actually, James' vocals tend to suffer under the weight of the surface defects far more than his playing -- the source discs distort on high-volume passages, which mostly occurs with his singing rather than his playing. Therefore, fans of blues guitar or piano need have no hesitation in picking this disc up. -- Bruce Elder

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Last Updated (Wednesday, 26 June 2013 11:09)

 

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