Lightnin' Hopkins

Morning Blues: Charly Blues Masterworks, Vol. 8

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Issued in 1993, Morning Blues is the eighth volume in the Charly Blues Masterworks series. It consists of material drawn from two Lightnin' Hopkins albums recorded for the Louisiana-based Jewel record label: Blue Lightnin' (1965) and The Great Electric Show and Dance (1968). Hopkins, an archetypal post-WWII Texas bluesman who often performed solo or with minimal accompaniment, had strong support from a sympathetic rhythm section (including pianist Elmore Nixon) on the earlier date. The Great Electric Show and Dance, on the other hand, is now regarded as an experiment whereby the stubbornly individualistic Hopkins performed with (and to some extent in spite of) a five-piece blues band consisting of electric guitarist Eddie Hinton, electric keyboardist Barry Beckett, electric bass guitarist David Hood, drummer Roger Hawkins, and an unidentified harmonica player (tracks nine through eighteen). Maybe this isn't the best choice for those who seek a sensible introduction to Hopkins. Maybe first it would be better to hear his earlier work from the mid- to late 1940s, and/or the warm, mature and intimate 1964 sessions first issued by the Fantasy label as Double Blues, an LP two-fer, in 1973. This Charly compilation should not be confused with Morning Blues, a survey of Hopkins' early Aladdin recordings from 1946-1948. That double-disc History retrospective, released in 2004, contains 13 vintage tracks that differ markedly from the mid- to late-'60s material presented on the similarly titled Charly release.

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