Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Skip James 1931

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Available as a download on eMusic


Skip James

01 - Devil got my woman Listen
02 - Cypress grove blues Listen
03 - Cherry ball blues Listen
04 - Illinois blues Listen
05 - Four o`clock blues Listen
06 - Hard-luck child Listen
07 - Hard time killin` floor blues Listen
08 - Yola my blues away Listen
09 - Jesus is a mighty good leader Listen
10 - Be ready when he comes Listen
11 - Drunken spree Listen
12 - I`m so glad Listen
13 - Special rider blues Listen
14 - How long buck Listen
15 - Little cow and calf is gonna die blues Listen
16 - What am I to do blues Listen
17 - 22-20 blues Listen
18 - If you haven`t any hay get on down the road Listen

Skip James; vocal, guitar, piano.
Mississippi blues, Miississippi blues guitar, country blues guitar.
Informtive booklet notes by Chris Smith.
Detailed discography.
Review by Steve Leggett
With his high, eerie falsetto and haunting guitar tunings, Skip James sounds like no other country blues player. Although his lyrics were generally drawn from the floating bag of clichés that showed up in countless blues songs, his atmospheric recordings, done in 1931 for Paramount, gave James' songs the appearance of poignancy, and his sad, lonely vocal style made them all seem heartfelt. When he was rediscovered in the mid-'60s, his skills were still intact, and he made several solid recordings for Vanguard and other labels, but his reputation really rests on the 18 tracks from the 1930s presented here. Devil Got My Woman, Cypress Grove Blues, and Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues are all one of a kind classics, as are I'm So Glad (later covered by The Cream) and Illinois Blues, both of which contain kinetic acoustic guitar breaks that simply explode out of the verses. James was also a pretty interesting piano player, and his playing on If You Haven't Any Hay Get on Down the Road sounds again like no other country blues pianist. This collection duplicates what is found on both the Document and Yazoo releases, and it matters little which one you pick up. All three come from the same sources, and all have the same amount of snaps, cracks, and hailstone hiss in all the same places. Don't let that stop you, though, because these are beautiful and maverick performances, and essential for a good blues collection.
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