Lightnin' Hopkins

Short Haired Woman

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There's no shortage of Lightnin' Hopkins compilations out there, and Short Haired Woman is only distinguished by its relatively good sound quality -- not a surprise since everything here was professionally recorded in the years 1946-1949 -- and decent if superficial annotation, giving a general overview of the man's career. There's no particular order, either, though the makers have placed Hopkins' solo sides ahead of his somewhat earlier sides with Thunder Smith. In a way, they've saved the best for last, in that those sides tend to feature flashier playing and a bolder, less subdued singing style and selection of material, while the later sides show a more studied, subtly sophisticated sound. Of course, all of it -- but especially the later sides -- represents precisely the kinds of playing that helped directly inspire any number of younger white guitarists to start playing, as the '50s rolled around, so the truly underground roots of rock & roll can be heard here. The price is right, given the limits on the packaging, though any longtime fan is almost certain to have the stuff represented here in some form.

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