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Skip James

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Biography

Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James (June 21, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter.

James was born near Bentonia, Mississippi. As a youth, he heard local musicians such as Henry Stuckey and brothers Charlie and Jesse Sims and began playing the organ in his teens. He worked on road construction and levee-building crews in his native Mississippi in the early 1920s, and wrote what is perhaps his earliest song, “Illinois Blues”, about his experiences as a laborer. Later in the ’20s he sharecropped and made bootleg whiskey in the Bentonia area. He began playing guitar in open D-minor tuning and developed a three-finger picking technique that he would use to great effect on his recordings. In addition, he began to practice piano-playing, drawing inspiration from the Mississippi blues pianist Little Brother Montgomery.

In early 1931 James auditioned for the Jackson, Mississippi record shop owner and talent scout H. C. Speir, who placed blues performers with a variety of record labels including Paramount Records. On the strength of this audition, Skip James traveled to Grafton, Wisconsin to record for Paramount. These recordings are among the most famous and idiosyncratic ever made in the blues idiom.

“I’m So Glad” was derived from a 1927 song by Art Sizemore and George A. Little entitled “So Tired”, which had been recorded by both Gene Austin and, as “I’m Tired of Livin’ All Alone”, by Lonnie Johnson. But as James’ biographer, Stephen Calt, maintains, the finished product was totally original, “one of the most extraordinary examples of fingerpicking found in guitar music.

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  • irotas

    Introducing new group Fingerpickin' Good Blues representing this artist and many other great ones. Enjoy!

    29 Jun 1:27am Reply
  • dogblues

    ghost world is a great fucking movie. it wasn't the first place where I heard skip james, but I'm glad it introduced more people to him

    22 May 6:52pm Reply
  • TheeFringe

    Thank you Skip James

    25 Apr 9:31am Reply
  • Malderrrrr

    What the fuck is Ghost World [100000]

    22 Mar 8:26am Reply
  • RealAppleNick

    What the fuck is Ghost World [99999]

    21 Sep 2014 Reply
  • juliacfonseca

    Mystic music. Mystic master <3

    29 Jun 2014 Reply
  • BallerCraig

    Thank you Ghost World [69]

    6 Jun 2014 Reply
  • Sovushok

    Thank you Ghost World [20]

    4 Jun 2014 Reply
  • Taki90

    \/ lol at the comment below !

    4 Feb 2014 Reply
  • joemcmaster

    Fuck you Ghost World, i've never seen you and never will.

    26 Jan 2014 Reply
  • RachokGenious

    Thank you Ghost World [19]

    11 Jan 2014 Reply
  • warmandcrispy

    i'm skip james, bitch

    26 Sep 2013 Reply
  • beautifuldaddy

    Robert Johnson, Skip James and Charley Patton were all geniuses and should all be appreciated equally

    20 Sep 2013 Reply
  • FallenLLoret

    Thank you Ghost World [18]

    27 Jul 2013 Reply
  • pink_flamingo_

    Thank you Ghost World [17]

    13 Jul 2013 Reply
  • LunaticInKnots

    v that's precisely what I think

    26 Feb 2013 Reply
  • naufragio85

    Fuck Robert Johnson, Skip James and Charley Patton are the real deal.

    5 Jan 2013 Reply
  • BenzoMay44

    I am slowly turning into Steve Buscemi from Ghost World, though I didn't get here from the film.

    4 Nov 2012 Reply
  • LOVES-DESIRE

    Skip James - I Love this Music .... I listen to the Blues of the Juke Joint or the Devil's Music and have always Loved this Music .... For the raw truthfulness and power this Music has .... Most of these Artists had no training and could not read or write ..... Just listen to what they could create .... Every one has an Artists that speaks to their Soul and will be the one .... Who causes you to listen more and find other Artists .... Wow .... It's like Skip is saying on this track .... You know Baby, I could be right and I could be wrong ..... The Devil done got my Woman and now they gone .... I love this Music .....

    28 Aug 2012 Reply
  • Forteski

    American Folk Blues Festival group: http://www.last.fm/group/American+Folk+Blues+Festival

    24 Jun 2012 Reply
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