Although the majority of the recordings collected here already show up on Bullseye Blues' 1993 reissue Houston Ghetto Blues, this is the one to get. The main reason for this is the inclusion of all the known extant tracks cut in the '50s for the Lake Charles, LA, Goldband label, where Wilson's versions of "Chicken Stuff" and "Rockin' in the Coconut Top" became tri-state biggies, giving him his 15 seconds of fame and influencing the likes of a young Johnny Winter and other young Texan slide-slingers in the process. With his drummer/sometimes-vocalist King Ivory Lee Semien banging the daylights out of a set that sounds like Salvation Army rejects (check out the floor-tom intro on the Goldband version of "Rockin' in the Coconut Top"), a string bass played by the ubiquitous "Ice Water" Jones, and a crackling, wires sticking out of it steel guitar going to places Elmore James could only think of after watching a bad sci-fi movie, Hop Wilson's dour singing delivery combined with his wild-ass playing becomes a whole genre of blues in and of itself and one well worth investigating. With a full generous 29 tracks aboard (including Wilson and the boys backing up Fenton Robinson and Larry Davis on newly discovered cuts) covering all the Goldband, Trey, and Ivory takes known to exist, this is now the definitive Hop Wilson collection and reason enough to start haunting the blues import bins to track it down. Programming tip: For full frontal assault, program up tracks 13 and 25-29 first and prepare yourself for something really special. There was only one Hop Wilson and here's where you check in to get his message.
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AllMusic Review by Cub Koda