John Jackson

Rappahannock Blues

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Appalachian guitarist, banjo player, and singer John Jackson, who died in 2002, was a bona fide American treasure whose recorded work and live performances were amazingly consistent and refreshingly real and unadorned. He was a fine guitarist in several styles -- he could fingerpick in the Piedmont style, then pick up a slide and go Delta -- and his claw-hammer banjo style bubbled with joy, while his singing was strong, warm, and always appropriate to whatever song he was doing. This set is drawn from live performances Jackson did between the mid-'70s and the late '90s, and it focuses on the blues end of his repertoire with solid and refreshing versions of blues pieces like “Rocks and Gravel” and “Frankie and Johnny,” as well as a gorgeous slide guitar take on the traditional “John Henry.” He also tackles a rag with “John Jackson’s Breakdown,” and pulls out the banjo for the string band reel “Cindy,” making this a fine introduction to a remarkably gifted folk musician.

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