Lightnin' Hopkins


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There's a special quality to the blues that came up out of Texas. You can hear it in the raggy-time music of Henry Thomas, in the spiritually charged rituals of Blind Willie Johnson, and in the unmistakable Southwestern blues of Lightnin' Hopkins. It is said that young Sam Hopkins received firsthand instruction from Blind Lemon Jefferson. As a boy, Hopkins worked in the cotton fields until choosing to become, like Henry Thomas, a wandering musician. He also began performing with his cousin, a pianist and blues shouter from Leona, south of Centerville, who went by the name of Texas Alexander. Sam Hopkins became known as Lightnin' when in 1946 he made 14 records with pianist Thunder Smith for the Aladdin label in Hollywood. This is the fifth installment of Lightnin' Hopkins' complete recordings presented in chronological order. There are occasional departures from his standard pattern of blues for solo voice and guitar: "Needed Time" is a spiritual, and "Candy Kitchen" is a rare example of Hopkins accompanying himself on the piano. "Another Fool in Town" is stunningly honest and beautifully executed. Sensitive listeners may experience a sense of wonderment at this individual's remarkable ritual of self-expression. His one-man show was at first described by music critics as stark or even "a little bewildering," largely because of the complete absence of pretentiousness or superficiality. Most of these recordings were made in Houston, including this artist's only sides for Specialty Records. Four sides cut in New York in 1951 for the Sittin' in With record label find Hopkins assisted by an unidentified bassist. A mention in the discography of "tap dancing" seems to refer to the sound of the guitarist patting his foot while rocking his way through a spirited boogie appropriately entitled "Gotta Move."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:20
2 2:59
3 2:54
4 2:40
5 2:45
6 2:36 Spotify
7 3:14 Spotify
8 2:18 Spotify
9 2:21 Spotify
10 2:49
11 2:54
12 2:51
13 2:57 Spotify
14 2:45
15 2:45 Spotify
16 2:38
17 2:51
18 2:33
19 2:57
20 3:21
21 2:54
22 2:42 Spotify
23 2:57 Spotify
24 2:39
25 2:54 Spotify
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