I’m working from home for the rest of the week seeing as how little HRH hasn’t been feeling too well and there are no daycare options given that school starts back up next week. That’s okay by me since we can have a breakfast cuddle while watching bits of the ‘Marco Pantani: the Accidental Death of a Cyclist‘ documentary, a little ‘Phineas and Ferb‘ over lunch and then maybe a short bike ride later on if she’s feeling up to it. Right now though, it’s nose to the grindstone at the dining room table for the remainder of the afternoon. First up to keep me humored and a-tapping at my presentations is the ‘Soul Blues‘ album by Lightnin’ Hopkins.
I’m switching gears this afternoon (pun intended) and swapping my wailing Jazz Boner of yesterday, for some delta blues with my latest album selection. I don;t really know why. It’s nice and sunny out, I’m in otherwise good spirits and I have a full belly. What can I say? Sometimes the heart just wants what it wants and you just have to roll with it. Today, it wants Da Blues.
Lightnin Hopkins is someone I usually save for my San Antonio business trips but I’m rolling with it anyway. ‘Soul Blues‘, recorded in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey and released in 1964 for Fantasy Records, is chalked full of tall, tongue-in-cheek tales (often made up on the spot in the studio) as only ‘ol Lightnin’ can provide. This album finds Hopkins in possibly his most conducive setting, playing electric guitar backed with a bassist, Leonard Gaskin; and a drummer, Herb Lovelle.
First off, right off the top, the album is dedicated to “all womens of the world”. Nice. The first song then, the steady-rolling gospel tune ‘I’m Going to Build Me a Heaven of My Own‘, describes an encounter with a bearded man claiming to be Jesus Christ. How’s that for an album opener? What it has to do with the “womens of the world”, Lord only knows. ‘I’m a Crawling Black Snake‘ puts a personal spin on some of the hoariest blues metaphors (ie. his penis?) in such a way that the song sounds brand new, and ‘The Howling Wolf‘ pays tribute to another blues legend in typical Hopkins style. He also puts his unique personal stamp on Willie Dixon‘s ‘My Babe‘ and Smokey Hogg’s ‘Too Many Drivers‘ among others. In it’s entirety, these 10 tracks are Hopkins at the top of his game.