Lightnin' Hopkins

Hootin' the Blues

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The most important part of Lightnin' Hopkins' career was spent in juke joints in Houston, but during the early 1960s, he also became a star along the folk circuit, playing clubs that catered mostly to college students eager to hear authentic acoustic blues. Several of those shows were recorded over the years to capitalize, and while the albums don't have the same importance as Hopkins' classic blues sides of the 1940s and 1950s, they do show another side of the man, and one he seemed to take to very naturally. Hootin' The Blues is one of Hopkins' better folk club concerts, capturing him in an intense performance on acoustic guitar, rapping (in the sense of talking) about the blues and what it means as he introduces some powerful songs: "Blues Is a Feeling," "In the Evenin'," and "Meet Me in the Bottom," among others. The best moment, though, is his reinvention of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" as an acoustic guitar number (trust me, it works), which displays the kind of fingering that must've made a young Eric Clapton want to sit down and cry.

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