Sam "Lightning" Hopkins (!912-1982) was raised in east Texas and performed mainly in the Houston area during most of his career. He was known to play in neighborhood taverns for a little cash. He recorded some sides in Houston in the 1940s and 50s 1946-1951, and was finally tracked down by Sam Charters and Chris Strachwitz in 1959. It was the former who convinced Hopkins to go to New York City to produce a studio recording, and from there he toured some in the United States and Europe. His playing style in recording studios and on tour did not have the flavor of the taverns with the neighborhood audience interaction (something that can be said for most musicians starting out in local clubs), but he has a smooth, soft vocal style compared to the shouting style of some other early bluesmen.
This CD represents recordings he made in the 1960s. Many are the slower Texas country blues, as opposed to the jazzy modern blues many performers had adopted in the 60s. The tracks on the CD were recorded in Houston, Texas, and Berkeley, California, and are from previously released Arhoolie recordings. All songs have Lightnin' Hopkins, vocal and guitar. Total playing time is over an hour. They include:
1. Once was a Gambler (1961, in Berkeley) Geno Landry (bass), Victor Leonard (drums).
2. Meet You At The Chicken Shack (1962, in Houston) with Spider Kilpatrick (drums) is a jazzier, boogie style with considerable instrumental.
3. Bald Headed Woman (1961, in Berkeley) with Geno Landry (bass) and Victor Leonard (drums).
tracks 4 to 9 were recorded in Houston in 1967.
4. Tom Moore Blues (Tom Moore was the owner of a large plantation).
5. Watch My Fingers (jazzier and mainly instrumental).
6. Love Like A Hydrant
7. Slavery Time
8. I Would If I Could (another track that is somewhat jazzier).
9. Bud Russell Blues (Bud Russell was chief transfer agent for the Texas State Prison System).
tracks 10 to 13 were recorded in Houston in 1965 and have Harold "Frenchy" Joseph on drums.
10. Come on Baby (a jazzier, boogie track with large amounts of instrumental).
11. Money Taker
12. Mama's Fight (another jazzier track).
13. My Woman
14. Send My Child Home To Me (solo, 1969 in Berkeley)
tracks 15 and 16 were recorded in 1969 in Berkeley, and include Francis Clay on drums and Geno Scaggs on bass.
15. Have You Ever Loved A Woman
16. Black And Evil
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