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Lightnin' Hopkins



LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Ace CDCHM 546 California Mudslide (And Earthquake) ● CD $14.98
Excellent set recorded in 1969 and originally issued on Vault 129 - produced by outstanding blues producer Bruce Bromberg. Lightnin' was in great form singing and playing electric guitar, piano and, on one cut, organ. The opening song is one of those wonderful topical songs Sam was able to come up with at a moments notice. There are revamped versions of some of the songs he had recorded in the 40s & 50s Rosie Mae (a version of his classic Katie Mae), New Santa Fe/ No Education. Easy On Your Heels is one of those wonderfully infectious boogies and his electric organ playing on the almost wordless spiritual Jesus, Would You Come By Here is wonderfully moving and effective. Excellent! (FS)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Ace CDCHD 697 Jake Head Boogie ● CD $18.98
31 tracks, 79 mins, essential
At last, the classic recordings that Lightnin' made for RPM in the late 40s and early 50s are finally on CD. This is truly incredible music by one of the great blues originals. Most of these sides were recorded at Bill Quinn's Gold Star studios in Houston. 13 of these were issued on RPM 78s in the early 50s, additional titles showed up on a Crown LP in 1961, some more turned up on a Kent LP in 1970 and still more were found by P-Vine Records in Japan and issued on a CD in 1998. This disc has all these recordings plus a few additional alternate takes unearthed by Ace. With the exception of the alternate takes of Candy Kitchen and Needed Time every track is a gem and includes such great performances as Jake Head Boogie/ Lonesome Dog Blues/ Santa Fe/ War News Blues/ Candy Kitchen/ Give Me Back That Wig/ Everyday I have The Blues/ Needed Time/ Drifting Blues/ Last Affair, etc. The tracks originally issued on 78 rpm often had excessive artificial reverb added - wherever possible, Ace have used the original acetates which sound much better as they only had the natural room echo. At 79 minutes this is one of the longest CDs out there but the time just flies by! (FS)
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Another Fool In Town/ Bad Luck And Trouble/ Bad Luck And Trouble (Previously Unissued - Short Take)/ Beggin' You To Stay/ Black Cat/ Candy Kitchen/ Candy Kitchen (With Guitar OverDub)/ Don't Keep My Baby Long/ Drifting Blues/ Everyday I Have The Blues/ Everyday I Have The Blues (Previously Unissued Short Take)/ Give Me Back That Wig/ Give Me Back That Wig/ House Upon The Hill/ Jake Head Boogie/ Jake Head Boogie/ Last Affair/ Last Affair (Previously Unissued - Short Take)/ Lonesome Dog Blues/ Lonesome Dog Blues/ Mistreater Blues/ Mistreater Blues/ Needed Time/ Needed Time/ One Kind Favor/ Santa Fe/ Someday Baby (Worried Life)/ Tell Me Pretty Mama/ Ticket Agent/ Ticket Agent/ War News Blues

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Arhoolie 302 Texas Blues ● CD $12.98
16 superb tracks from the king of of Texas country blues recorded between 1961 and '69 and previously available on Arhoolie 1011, 1034, 1039 and 1063.
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Bald Headed Woman/ Black And Evil/ Bud Russell Blues/ Come On Baby/ Have You Ever Loved A Woman/ I Would If I Could/ Love Like A Hydrant/ Mama's Fight/ Meet You At The Chicken Shack/ Money Taker/ My Woman/ Once Was A Gambler/ Send My Child Home To Me/ Slavery Time/ Tom Moore Blues/ Watch My Fingers

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Arhoolie 330 The Gold Star Sessions, Vol. 1 ● CD $12.98
Texas singer/ guitarist Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins was possibly the greatest country blues artist to record in the post war era. He was a truly creative genius with a knack for original observations of the world around him, he was a wonderful singer and a unique guitarist with an immediately recognizable style in which every notes seems to be a blue note! His recordings for Bill Quinn's Gold Star label in Houston, Texas between 1947 and 1950 are among his finest and these two exemplary discs represent almost his entire output for the label and includes quite a few titles not originally issued on 78 rpm though many were subsequently issued on Arhoolie. Although quite a few songs are traditional or learned from Lightnin's close associate Texas Alexander they are all transformed into something that is pure Lightnin'. Wherever possible the recordings on these discs were taken from the original 16" acetates the songs were recorded on though some had to be dubbed from 78s rpm or other LPs. Most of the tracks are just Lightnin' accompanied by his own guitar though there are two tracks with second guitar by his brother Joel, two with Frankie Lee Sims on slide guitar, three on which Sam plays some very effective organ and two where he is accompanied by a jazzy trio with Lightnin' trying to play T. Bone style blues guitar - and almost succeeding. Because the chronology of Lightnin's Gold Star recordings is uncertain no attempt has been made to order the songs chronologically but rather for listening pleasure. It is impossible to pick one of the discs over the other - both are essential. The first includes Short Haired Woman/ Going Home Blues/ Big Mama Jump/ Seems Funny Baby/ Grosebeck Bllues/ Lightning Boogie/ Goodbye Blues/ Fast Life Woman/ You Don't Know/ Somebody Got To Go/ Mad With You and others including his remarkable protest song Tim Moore's Blues. The second volume includes Walking Blues/ Ida Mae/ Automobile Blues/ All I Got Is Gone/ European Blues/ Lonesome Home/ Lightning Blues/ Rollin' Woman Blues/ T-Model Blues/ Ain't It A Shame/ Untrue Blues/ Jackstropper Blues, etc. In all 48 truly classic country blues recordings. Sound is generally very good and there are informative notes by Chris Strachwitz. (FS)
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Airplane Blues/ Automobile Blues/ Baby Please Don't Go/ Big Mama Jump/ Death Bells/ Fast Life Woman/ Going Home Blues/ Goodbye Blues/ Grosebeck Blues/ Lightning Boogie/ Loretta Blues/ Mad With You/ Racetrack Blues/ Seems Funny Baby/ Short Haired Woman/ Somebody Got To Go/ Thunder And Lightning Blues (Coolin' Board LIGHTNIN'/ Tim Moore's Farm/ Traveler's Blues/ Treat Me Kind/ Unkind Blues/ Unsuccessful Blues/ You Don't Know/ Zolo Go (Zydeco)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Arhoolie 337 The Gold Star Sessions, Vol. 2 ● CD $12.98
See above review.
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Ain't It A Shame/ All I Got Is Gone/ Appetite Blues/ Automobile Blues/ European Blues/ Glory B. Blues/ Grievance Blues/ Hammond Boogie/ Henny Penny Blues/ Ida May/ Jackstropper Blues/ Jail House Blues/ Lightning Blues/ Lonesome Home/ Mercy/ No Mail Blues/ Old Woman Blues/ Rollin' Woman Blues/ Shining Moon/ T-Model Blues/ Untrue Blues/ Walking Blues/ What Can It Be/ Whiskey Blues

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Arhoolie 403 Po' Lightnin' ● CD $12.98
More fine sides from the Arhoolie vaults.
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Brand New Lock/ Burnin' In L.A./ California Showers/ Candy Kitchen/ Do The Boogie/ Gin Bottle Blues/ Goin' Out Number/ Hurricane Carla & Esther/ I'm Leaving You Now/ Ice Storm Blues/ Jesus Will You Come By Here/ My Baby's Gone/ Please Settle In Vietnam/ Selling Wine In Arizona/ Speedin' Boogie/ Up On Telegraph Avenue/ Wake Up Old Maid/ Wine Drinking Woman/ Wipe Your Feet On The Floor

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Arhoolie 499 The Best Of Lightnin' Hopkins ● CD $12.98
17 track compilation of the great Texas bluesman - seven tracks recorded for Gold Star between 1947 and 1951 and the rest recorded for Arhoolie between 1961 and '69. Includes Whiskey Blues/Grosebeck Blus/ Mojo Hand/ Jesus Will You Come By Her/ Tim Moore's Farm/ Big Mama Jump/ Bald Headed Woman/ Zolo Go/ Short Haired Woman/ Once Was A Gambler, etc.

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Candid 79010 Lightnin' In New York ● CD $12.98
8 tracks, 43 mins, highly recommended
Available again as an inexpensive U.S. release but lacking the six bonus cuts that were on the Japanese reissue. This session was cut for Nat Hentoff's Candid label in New York in 1960. Lightnin' was just beginning to come to the attention of a white folk audience and was in great form singing, playing acoustic guitar and piano and, on one track, playing guitar and piano together! Songs include such magnificent slow blues as Take It easy/. Your own fault Baby and Wonder Why along with his risqué boogie Mighty Crazy and the tremendous story song Mister Charlie. The sound is fabulous with lots of presence on Lightnin's vocals and instruments. If you can afford it, it's worth getting the Japanese issue but, if not, this is a most worthwhile purchase. (FS)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Collectables 5111 Mojo Hand ● CD $11.98
9 Fire label sides from 1960. Also available as a more expensive Japanese import with extra tracks. Includes Mojo Hand/ Awful Dream/ Black Mare Trot/ Have You Ever Loved A Woman and more.
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Awful Dream/ Black Mare Trot/ Coffee For Mama/ Glory Bee/ Have You Ever Loved A Woman/ Mojo Hand/ Santa/ Shine On Moon!/ Sometimes She Will

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Collectables 5121 The Herald Recordings 1954 ● CD $11.98
Lightnin's Herald sides are the rawest, rockinest records he ever produced. Previously released as 2 LP's on Diving Duck, then on Collectables as a condensed single record, and now on CD at last, although the selection here is the same as the LP. If you're not afraid of Lightnin's raunchy guitar grinding out the hard boogie in front of a stripped down and sweaty band, this is for you. Highly recommended. (MB)
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Blues For My Cookie/ Don't Think 'Cause You're Pretty/ Evil Hearted Woman/ Flash Lightnin'/ Hear Me Talkin'/ Hopkins' Sky Hop/ Life I Used To Live/ Lightnin' Don't Feel Well/ Lightnin's Boogie/ Lightnin's Stomp/ Lonesome In Your Home/ My Baby's Gone/ My Little Kewpie Doll/ Nothin' But The Blues/ Shine On Moon/ Sick Feelin' Blues/ Sittin' Down Thinkin'

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Collectables 5143 From The Vaults Of Everest, Part 1 : Drinkin' In The B ● CD $11.98
16 tracks recorded for Tradition and Society in 1959 and '60.
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Ball Of Twine/ Big Black Cadillac Blues/ Brand New Car/ Coffee House Blues/ Drinkin' In The Blues/ Early In The Mornin' Blues/ Fugitive Blues/ G String Blues/ Goin' To Dallas/ Grandma Told Grandpa/ I've Been Buked And Scored/ Last Night/ Rain/ Shake It Baby/ Shining Moon/ Stool Pidgeon

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Collectables 5144 From The Vaults Of Everest, Part 2 : Prison Blues ● CD $11.98
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Baby!/ Backwater Blues/ Bluebird Bluebird/ Dillon's Store/ Goin' Back Home/ Gonna' Pull A Party/ Good Times/ Keep Movin' On/ Long Gone Like A Turkey/ Long Time/ Prison Blues Come Down On Me/ Rainy Day Blues/ See See Rider/ That's My Story/ Til The Gin Gets Here/ Worrying My Mind

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Collectables 5145 From The Vaults Of Everest, Part 3 : Mama & Papa Hopkins ● CD $11.98
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: 75 Highway/ Bottle Up And Go/ Bunion Stew/ Don't Wake Me/ Get Off My Toe/ Go Down Old Hannah/ Hear My Black Dog Bark/ In The Evening, The Sun Is Going Down/ Mama And Papa Hopkins/ Short Haired Woman/ That Gambling Life/ The Food Race Is On/ Trouble In Mind/ What Did I Say/ When The Saints Go Marching In/ You Got To Work To Get Your Pay

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Collectables 5146 From The Vaults Of Everest, Part 4 : Nothin' But The Blues ● CD $11.98
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Big Car Blues/ Cotton/ Guitar Lightnin'/ Hurricane Betsy/ I'll Be Gone/ Little Waif/ Mojo Hand/ Nothin' But The Blues/ Santa Fe Blues/ Shaggy Dog/ Shake Yourself/ So Long Baby/ Take Me Back/ Talk Of The Town/ Woke Up This Morning

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Fantasy 24702 Double Blues ● CD $12.98
2-LP reissue on one CD featuring Prestige recordings. Mostly "folk blues" material but still worthwhile.
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Black Ghost Blues/ Darling, Do You Remember Me?/ I Asked The Bossman/ I Got Tired/ I Mean Goodbye/ I Was Standing on 75 Highway/ I Woke Up This Morning/ I'm A Crawling Black Snake/ I'm Going To Build Me a Heaven of My Own/ I'm Taking A Devil of a Chance/ Just A Wristwatch On My Arm/ Let's Go Sit On the Lawn/ Lonesome Graveyard/ My Babe/ Rocky Mountain Blues/ The Howling Wolf/ Too Many Drivers

JSP JSPCD 7705 All The Classics, 1946-1951 ● CD $28.98
5 CDs, 126 tracks, essential
This set covers the first five years of Lightnin's recording career, a time when he was at his creative peak. A variety of companies have previously re-issued some of these sides, notably EMI ["The Complete Aladdin Sessions") and Arhoolie ("The Gold Star Sessions Volumes 1 & 2").
All the Aladdin tracks are here apart from four with pianist Thunder Smith where Smith took the vocal, and all the Arhoolie/Gold Star material is included. The remaining titles cover 1950/1 when Hopkins recorded for the Sittin' In With, Jax and Mercury labels. By the time of his recording debut Hopkins had nearly twenty years' experience as a performer and all the elements of his style were firmly established.
Transforming traditional blues themes into songs uniquely his own, his world weary vocal style was perfectly balanced by evocative, free flowing guitar phrases. Katy Mae/ Someday Baby/ Short Haired Woman/ Picture On The Wall/ Shotgun/ Fast Mail Rambler, many tracks here really are classics, and although his inspiration may have faltered on some of the early 50s cuts, the overall standard is excellent. Unfortunately these records were made for small town labels and often poorly produced. As a result at times they tend to have a slightly flat sound and occasionally suffer from acoustic problems.
JSP have a good reputation for their remastering but on comparing these transfers with the EMI and Arhoolie reissues mentioned above I could detect no appreciable difference in sound quality. The sound improves on the later titles but by this time Lightnin' is saddled with a solitary bass player who plods along behind him and becomes pretty irritating. Still, Hopkins is in fine voice on these later sides, and there is much to enjoy on tracks like Give Me Central 209 or the Hooker-inspired Freight Train Blues. Altogether this is a very worthwhile package and is supported by notes from Neil Slaven which give fascinating insights into Lightnin's life and personality. As is often the case with small post war labels, discographical information is vague and unreliable, and even titles appear uncertain: at any rate there are a number of discrepancies in the titles used here compared with earlier reissues. Having said that it is great to have all this important music in one set at a bargain price. JSP have again delivered the goods. (DPR)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Original Blues Classics 506 Blues In My Bottle ● CD $11.98
Good acoustic set originally issued as Bluesville 1045 in 1961 - Lightnin' is in good form on a mixture of blues standards and fine originals - Buddy Brown's Blues/ Sail On, Little Girl, Sail On/ Death Bells/ Jailhouse Blues, etc
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Beans, Beans, Beans/ Blues In My Bottle/ Buddy Brown's Blues/ Catfish Blues/ DC-7/ Death Bells/ Going To Dallas To See My Pony Run/ Jailhouse Blues/ My Grandpa Is Old Too!/ Sail On, Little Girl, Sail On/ Wine Spodee-O-Dee

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Relic 7058 Houston Bound ● CD $14.98
13 tracks, 52 mins, recommended
Lightnin's recordings for Bobby Robinson's Fire label in November 1960 must be among his most reissued. What makes this one a little different is that it is newly remastered from original master tapes and the resulting CD has an extra warmth and sparkle. It also includes one track previously only on a single (How Long Has The Train Been Gone, one reissued on the LP Krazy Kat 7410 (a reworking of his Aladdin recording Shotgun) and two never issued before - the title tune and Baby I Dont Care which has not even made it into the discographies. Lightnin' was in fine form playing acoustic guitar tastefully accompanied by bass and drums. It includes his minor hit Mojo Hand plus other excellent songs like the moving and atypical Awful Dream, the powerful Have You Ever Loved A Woman featuring some of Sam's unique piano playing and his Christmas song Santa. Extensive notes by Steve Franz - basically a Lightnin' biography with only a couple of paragraphs on these particular recordings. (FS)
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Awful Dream/ Baby I Don‘t Care/ Black Mare Trot/ Coffee For Mama/ Glory Be/ Have You Ever Loved A Woman?/ Houston Bound/ Howlong Has The Train Been Gone?/ Mojo Hand/ Santa/ Shine On Moon/ Shotgun/ Sometimes She Will

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Smithsonian Folkways 40019 Lightnin' Hopkins ● CD $14.98
Reissue of Folkways recording from 1959. Coaxed out of semi-retirement by veteran blues producer Sam Charters, Lightnin' laid down this exciting session of 10 tunes in a Houston hotel room. It's interesting to note that this solo recording predates his prolific years as a coffeehouse performer, and to my ears this has a little more grit and personality than the majority of his more well known 60's recordings. Recommended. (MB)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Sony Music Special Products 26429 Sings The Blues ● CD $8.98
10 track collection of Lightnin's great Sittin' In With/ Jax recordings.

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS Tradition TCD 1003 Country Blues ● CD $9.98
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Baby!/ Backwater Blues (This Mean Old Twister)/ Bluebird, Bluebird/ Bunion Stew/ Go Down Old Hannah/ Gonna Pull A Party/ Hear My Black Dog Bark/ Long Gone Like A Turkey Through The Corn/ Long Time/ Prison Blues Come Down On Me/ Rainy Day Blues/ See See Rider/ Till The Gin Gets Here/ Worrying My Mind/ You Got To Work To Get Your Pay

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS & SONNY TERRY Original Blues Classics 548 Last Night Blues ● CD $11.98
8 tracks, 37 mins, good. Reissue of Bluesville 1029 from 1960 pairing two giants of the blues. Lightnin' is in good form - singing strongly and playing some fine guitar. Sonny's harp work provides a fine counterpoint. It's too bad this session is all acoustic and features the rather plodding accompaniments of Leonard Gaskion and Belton Evans on bass and drums. Most enjoyable track is the "conversation" between Sonny & Lightnin' on Conversation Blues. (FS)
LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Conversation Blues/ Got To Move Your Baby/ Hard To Love A Woman/ Last Night Blues/ Lightnin' Stroke/ Rocky Mountain/ So Sorry To Leave You/ Take A Trip With Me

THE HOPKINS BROTHERS Arhoolie 340 Joel, Lightning & John Henry ● CD $12.98
This is a CD reissue of Arhoolie 1022 with the addition of a number of previously unissued performances. It features the great Lightnin' Hopkins and his two older brothers John Henry and Joel and was recorded in February 1964 and March 1965. Both his brothers perform in an older, more archaic style than Sam and both were limited musically though this may have been lack of practice as apparently John Henry was, at one time, the best guitarist in the family. John Henry was a powerful and uninhibited singer and his Hot Blooded Woman is powerful. Joel is a less interesting performer - being more derivative of Blind Lemon Jefferson. An interesting disc, if not an essential one. (FS)
JOEL HOPKINS: Home With Mama/ I Walked From Dallas/ Matchbox Blues/ JOHN HENRY HOPKINS: Doin' Little Heifer/ Hey, Baby Hey/ Hot Blooded Woman/ I Want To Go Fishing/ Saddle Up My Grey Mare/ JOHN HENRY & LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: See About My Brother/ JOHN HENRY HOPKINS: Tell Me, Tell Me/ LIGHTNIN' & JOHN HENRY HOPKINS: Black Hannah/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: Come Down To My House/ LIGHTNIN' & JOEL HOPKINS: Grosebeck Blues/ LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS: I Got A Brother In Waxahachie/ Little Girl/ The Dice Game (Story)/ LIGHTNIN' & JOEL HOPKINS: Two Brothers Playing (Going Back To Baden-Baden)

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS, SONNY TERRY, BROWNIE Just A Memory RSCD 011 The Rising Sun Collection ● CD $10.98


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