Lightnin' Hopkins

Story Songs and Voices of the Blues

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Texas country bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins was truly one of a kind, a maverick performer who never truly trusted the music business and always took his money up front, moving from label to label as if something was chasing him. Lightnin' had it down. He'd get his pay, settle into the studio, and half-improvise lyrics over one of his stock country blues shuffles, then move on to the next side, repeating the pattern until the work was done. Then it was on to the next label. What made it all okay was that his essentially improvised tracks were frequently little blues masterpieces, personalized just enough to set them aside from being mere assembly line cliché. This ten-song collection catches Hopkins early in his career and includes fine sides like "Tom Moore's Farm," "Katie Mae," and "How Long Has the Train Been Gone," but in the end is just too brief to be more than a truck-stop purchase.

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