Elmore James

The Final Sessions

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The various white lead guitar gods who began to garner so much critical press during the rock explosion of the late '60s owe more than a lot to Elmore James. While working as a radio repairman in the early '50s, James spent hours rewiring speakers and amplifiers so that they would deliver the kind of harsh and distorted sound he favored when he played electric guitar through them, and that act of rebuilding amps alone would have made him an unsung hero to rock guitarists everywhere a decade or so later, but James also happened to be a pretty damn good player himself, and there may well not be a more powerful and exciting sound on Earth than James' trademark "Dust My Broom" slide guitar riff, which bottled megawatts of power, energy, and passion into one swooping rush. No matter how many times James recycled the riff, and producers and label owners insisted on it constantly, it still generated electric chills. This set collects James' final sessions, tracked for Bobby Robinson, who had been issuing sides by the guitarist on his various Fire, Fury, and Enjoy imprints since 1959. The material gathered here has been released countless times by different labels in various configurations over the years (Capricorn, Snapper, Collectables, and P-Vine have all released Final Sessions sets), so there really is nothing new here, but it hardly matters. Elmore James was one monster guitar player, and he was never less than that. As these final sessions make clear, he delivered on that promise right to the end.

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