Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Skip James Live Volume 2 - Bloomington 1968 Part 2

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FEATURED ARTIST / S
Skip James

    TRACK LIST

Skip James
01 - Skip James Talking Listen
02 - Illinois Blues Listen
03 - Cypress Grove Blues Listen
04 - Washington D.C. Hospital Centre Blues Listen
05 - Skip James Talking Listen
06 - Hard Headed Woman Blues Listen
07 - Catfish Blues Listen
08 - Hard Luck Child Listen
09 - Skip James Talking Listen
10 - Drunken Spree Listen
11 - Back Water Blues Listen
12 - Look At The People Listen
13 - Sorry For To Leave You Listen
14 - Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning Listen

DOCD-5634
Skip James – The Complete Bloomington, Indiana Concert – March 30th 1968 - Part 2

Skip James, vocal ,guitar.

Genres: Mississippi Blues, Country Blues, Country Blues Guitar.

Informative booklet notes by Dr. Peter Narváez
Detailed discography

On the night of this Skip James concert, performed at the student–run Indiana University Folksong Club at Bloomington, Indiana the small auditorium was filled with about two hundred persons who knew more about local bluegrass traditions (Bill Monroe's Sunday bam fests took place in nearby Beanblossom) than blues, but who enjoyed listening to various forms of traditional music. As one can hear on this recording, they were not disappointed.

Skip James played a total of twenty "pieces" from his repertoire. These included God Is Real which to my knowledge he had not recorded before, as well as two other "spirituals": Look At The People (Got To Go To Judgement) and Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning. Skip James's penchant for mixing sacred and secular songs was well received by an audience used to similar European-American concert traditions in country music. In addition, he played eight songs first recorded during his 1931 sessions by Paramount producer Arthur Laibly in Grafton, Wisconsin. Skip introduced I'm So Glad, the best known of these because of its 1960s cover version by the Cream (featuring Eric Clapton), with the story of how Laibly at first urged him to "play the song as fast as you can". On actually hearing it at that speed, Laibly advised Skip to slow down. Listening to his performance of the song in concert, one can hear James gradually accelerate the tempo of "I'm So Glad" as a dramatic demonstration of his continued finger-picking prowess.

The circumstances of Skip James' life, since he had resumed his performing his performing career in 1964, provided the fodder for three newer original blues compositions - Lorenz, concerns his wife Lorenzo Meeks James (1905-1977), and two blues about his hospitalizations, one in Tunica, Mississippi, Sickbed Blues, the other focusing on his stay at Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues. The remaining six songs were Skip James arrangements of a variety of popular songs. Backwater Blues recounted the disastrous flooding of the Mississippi river, in the winter and spring of 1927, as popularised by Bessie Smith and Lonnie Johnson recordings issued that year. Hard Headed Woman Blues adapted the 1934 hit "Black Gal (What Makes Your Head So Hard?)" of Joe Pullum, covered by Leroy Carr and Scrapper Blackwell. Catfish Blues, combined lyrics recorded by Robert Petway (“Catfish Blues Blues" DOCD-5671) and Tommy McClennan ("Deep Blue Sea Blues" DOCD-5670) in 1941, later to be reconfigured by McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters, in his rendition of “Rolling Stone" (1950). Having been ordained as both a Baptist and Methodist minister, Skip’s singing of Petway's verse,

"I went to the church house and they called on me to pray;
I got all on my knees, but I couldn't find a word to say”,

must have possessed personal poignancy. Skip James's Bloomington appearance introduced his unique "Bentonia (Mississippi) School" of minor key blues to an appreciative audience.

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