Albert Collins / Lightnin' Hopkins / Freddie King / Mance Lipscomb

Texas Blues Guitar [Video/DVD]

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The different styles of Texas blues guitar, both acoustic and electric, are featured on this hour-long video from Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop. The Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins, kicks things off with a three-tune set from a 1991 appearance on Austin City Limits. A typical Collins blues-rocker, "Iceman," starts the show, setting the stage for a lengthy blues in the slow drag tempo, "The Lights Are On, But Nobody's Home." On this one, Collins pulls out all of his trademark stinging licks while sharing solo space with his tenor sax man and organist. The closer, "Head Rag," is another powerful blues-rocker with Albert's guitar well to the fore. Hard on the heels of this highly electric performance is another three-song turn, this time from Freddie King, emanating from 1972. "Big Leg Woman" is typical of the type of blues-rock fusion King was dabbling in around this time, full of solid rock energy underpinning his blistering guitar lines. There is also the generically titled "Blues Band Shuffle," an instrumental with very strong ties to John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen" and Magic Sam's "Looking Good." Closing out the set is a spirited rendition of Freddie's best-known number from the later half of his recording career, "Going Down."

The second half of this video begins with rare 1960 footage of Lightnin' Hopkins, clearly illustrating how this down-home bluesman could be positively intense in the proper setting. Lightnin's four song turn ("Baby, Come Go Home With Me," "Going Down Slow," "Bunion Stew" and "Let's Pull a Party") is alternately stark and celebratory, zeroing in on what made him such true blues legend. Closing out the collection, we're treated to another four-song turn, this time from Texas "songster" Mance Lipscomb recorded at the University of Washington in 1968. Mance's tunes ("Captain, Captain," "Night Time Is the Right Time," "Moves on the Water" and "Which Way Do the Red River Run") show the wide range of styles he could employ and what a marvelous source of early Texas guitar traditions he had at his command. This video stands as a nice thumbnail selection of the many varied styles of Texas blues and how they all relate to each other.