Lightnin' Hopkins

Blues [Collectables]

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An album's title can do one of several things: describe the mood, the style, or the subject of the music. While one might be tempted to interpret a title like Blues in a general sense, it's meant, in this instance, in the most literal sense. Every song on this collection by Lightnin' Hopkins has the word "blues" in the title. There's "G-String Blues," "Blues for My Cookie," and "Sick Feelin' Blues." As with much of Hopkins' music, there are moments of brilliance and there are non-distinct lapses. There's a down-and-dirty, lo-fi take on "Santa Fe Blues" and a soulful, live version of "Stool Pigeon Blues." "Mama got mad at Pop/'Cause he didn't bring no coffee home," kicks off a bouncy "Coffee House Blues," while Sonny Boy Williamson adds his harmonica to "Drinkin' in the Blues." There are moments, as with "Big Black Cadillac Blues," where Hopkins seems more interested in talking than singing, and the odd mixture of songs -- solo, acoustic, and full-band -- seems abrupt at times. Blues' eclectic nature, however, does provide a good snapshot of Hopkins' multi-faceted approach to the saddest of musical genres. Blues fans, guitar players, and anyone curious about the endless possibilities of using "blues" in a song's title will want to pick up a copy.

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