You might not know anything about this record. You may never have heard of Skip James. You might not think you like blues. You might not normally listen to recommendations. But if ever you’re going to take some advice, now’s the time – BUY THIS RECORD. You can’t miss.
Nehemiah “Skip” James is one of the Delta Blues giants and one of the genre’s earliest recording artists. He was born in Bentonia, Mississippi in 1902 and began his recording career in 1931 for the Paramount Records label – the same Grafton, Wisconsin-based company that cut the ultra-famous sides by Robert Johnson, Son House, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Blind Blake and pretty much every other pre-war blues artist that’s still remembered today.
After that Paramount session and its resulting 26 sides, James went relatively unheard for the next 33 years. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a Baptist minister. But in 1964, three record collectors went in search of Skip James and found him. The three booked him at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, and James’ comeback was born. Thank God for that! This record was recorded shortly after the rediscovery. Amazingly, James’ musicianship was still utterly remarkable, even though his health had begun to fail and he would die just five years later. What sets Skip James’ talent apart, aside from his equal mastery of both the guitar and piano, is his haunting falsetto singing. You’ve got to hear it for yourself. This record allows us a glimpse into a long-gone world.
Mastered by Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman.
Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues
Special Rider Blues
All Night Long
Look Down the Road
I’m So Glad