Silas Hogan

So Long Blues

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Silas Hogan was typical of the Excello Records blues artists in following the template set by the great Slim Harpo, who took the laconic approach of Jimmy Reed and slowed it down even more, resulting in a loose, swampy sound that is as recognizable as it is infectious. How much of this so-called swamp blues genre is actually due to producer Jay Miller is open to conjecture, but whoever designed the Excello sound, it was enduring, and Hogan did it as well as anyone. So Long Blues collects all his singles for the label, and the result is a wonderfully cohesive album that feels as thick and bottomless as a Louisiana bayou. Every track here fits the pattern, and there isn't much of a variance in tempo, which is fine since it helps build a smoky, trance-like feel, and Hogan is wisely in no hurry to break out of it. The accumulative effect is powerful, but individual tracks do stand out, including his signature tune, "I'm Gonna Quit You Baby," "Lonesome La La" (which features an odd, sprung Cajun rhythm), the organ-fueled "So Glad," and the slowest exercise in the Bo Diddley beat you'll ever hear, "Just Give Me a Chance." This is a marvelous collection, but Excello's own Trouble anthology might be even better since it includes everything here plus alternate takes of "Lonesome La La," "I'm in Love With You Baby," "Sittin' Here Wondering," and "I'm Going in the Valley."

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