Monday, June 27, 2011

Lightnin' Hopkins - "Move On Out, Pt. 2" - Jewel, 1965

It's occurred to me that I could probably expand my readership here and my DJ profile in general if I would focus a bit more on a particular style. I guess that's always been one of my issues in life - I just like too many damn things! Right, so today it's a straight Blues record from a giant figure in that genre - Lightnin' Hopkins. I've been in a particularly Blues kinda mood lately since I decided to finally try to learn how to use the harmonica I've got laying around. My poor neighbors!
Born Sam John Hopkins in 1912, Hopkins looms large over the Blues scene and guitar history in general. After learning a thing or two about the Blues from Blind Lemon Jefferson as a youngster, Sam finally got some recognition in Houston in the mid-40's. He started recording...and recording...and recording. We've talked about some prolific cats here, but Lightnin' takes the cake. From Wikipedia: "It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career."
Peep this clip from the '67 documentary "The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins".

Hopkins died of esophageal cancer in Houston January 30, 1982 at the age of 69. His New York Times obituary named him as "one of the great county blues and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players."
Some other ol' LP I got layin' around...
Jewel Records was started by Stan Lewis in 1963 out of Shreveport, Louisiana. Initially, he put out mostly Blues material but later branched out with the establishment of sister labels Paula and Ronn. Here's an interesting comment about Hopkins and Lewis' relationship at Jewel from this great website: "Houston-based Hopkins developed a unique guitar style where he would simulate bass, rhythm, lead, and even percussion as he played solo. He also had a unique approach to recording, where he asked to be paid a flat fee for his recordings, with no contracts or royalties. He would do one take of each song, and one take only. His sessions for Jewel would usually include about 20 songs each. Hopkins and Stan Lewis got along well (an instrumental on the second Jewel album was called "Uncle Stan, the Hip Hit Record Man"), and Lewis remarked that he probably recorded more songs by Hopkins than any other artist. "
I believe Jewel was active well into the 90s.
And of course, the clip!

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