Lightnin' Hopkins

Blues in My Bottle/Walkin' This Road by Myself

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Lightnin' Hopkins had a hard and fast approach to dealing with the abundance of record labels he recorded for during his career. The irascible bluesman would show up at the session in question but would refuse to play a note until he was paid his fee upfront. Once paid and satisfied, he'd unpack his stock set of boogie blues riffs and pretty much improvise songs on the spot until he'd fulfilled his agreed upon quota. Then he would leave. This system led to an awful lot of similarly constructed and executed throwaway tracks, but Hopkins had a special gift for personalizing the blues that came through in the best of these improvised songs, and a few gems always showed up in the process. This disc combines 1961's Walkin' This Road by Myself, which features Hopkins with drummer Spider Kilpatrick, harmonica player Billy Bizor, and pianist Buster Pickens, with 1963's solo acoustic Blues in My Bottle (one track from the original LP, "Death Bells," has been omitted from this CD reissue), both of which were produced by Kenneth S. Goldstein and Mack McCormick. The end result is a pleasant representation of what Hopkins did both as a solo act, when he was arguably at his best, and with a small, sympathetic combo.

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