Elmore James

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1951-1953 Review

by Steve Leggett

Radio repairman Elmore James spent a good deal of time re-wiring his amplifiers, giving him a raw, distorted, and urgent sound on electric guitar that, coupled with his killer slide style, made him the Godfather of modern electric guitar, and few gunslingers can match his intensity or powerful, dirty sound (even when armed with a train-load of stomp boxes). This disc collects his earliest sides for Trumpet, Flair and Meteor Records, and includes at least three different versions (James redid this song countless times under varying titles) of his signature tune, a re-working of Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom." James brought everything to every recording he ever did, and so it is virtually impossible to pick up a bad Elmore James release, but this one, since it contains his very first recordings, has a special urgency.

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