Lightnin' Hopkins Feel So Bad

Drawn from his earliest recordings for the Aladdin label, these 22 performances date from 1946 to '49 and feature Sam in compelling trio, duo and solo performances. His refined amplified guitar style exists at the stylistic crossroads between the rural and the urban blues traditions. "Shining Moon" is a wonderful example of how he can embellish a lyrical riff with delicate shades of feedback and distortion. While there's audible hiss in "Baby Please Don't Go," these vintage recordings feature excellent sound for the most part. One of the blues tradition's greatest street poets, Hopkins portrays how his "Whisky Headed Woman" is "lit up like a neon sign." On up-tempo boogie pieces like "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" and "Lightnin' Boogie," Hopkins creates exciting guitar lines that sound like one of the rudimentary blueprints for rock'n'roll. Among the music's essential roots documents, this reissue offers a great introduction to one of the most gifted and prolific blues players of his era. (S.R.I.)