Lightnin' Hopkins

Live 1971

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Two albums -- released as separate CDs in 1992 -- taken from a two show performance in 1971 from an unknown source, are combined onto one disc in this 1999 re-release. No information on where the recording took place or who the bass player and drummer accompanying Hopkins are, either. The recording source is obviously a p.a. board tape with strange volume fluctuations, microphone poppings, and occasional feedback, oddly mixed in stereo and heavy on the bass. Audio disclaimers aside, this recording would be a welcome addition to anyone's collection as Hopkins is in rare form, telling incomprehensible jokes as he charms the pants off his audience while playing and singing his heart out. Unfortunately, as the first set comes to a close, the bass player's tuning goes woefully flat and he plays several tunes in the wrong key and just can't get back in tune to save his life for the rest of the set. Finally exasperated, Lightnin' proceeds to tune him up right in the middle of a song and, unable to stand it any longer, finally bitches him and the drummer out after a wobbly version of "Baby Please Don't Go" ('you're killin' me, all of ya'), launching into another chaotic instrumental and even more sloppy, out of tune playing. While there's a wealth of interesting and musically worthwhile performances on this package, you'll have to ignore about a third of the ones on here to get to the good stuff.

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