Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Son House - Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions (Columbia, 1992)

Legendary blues guitarist and singer Son House was one of the delta originals, recording some of the most influential music is blues history during his early career. Like many of his contemporaries, House disappeared from public view during the late 40's and 50's before being "re-discovered" by white folk and blues fans in the early 1960's. Despite some initial rustiness, House was soon playing and singing with the blasting intensity that marked his early recordings. Son House must have shocked the folkies when they came to see him in the 60's, his music was raw, unfettered and absolutely brilliant. The first disc of this set is the master recordings, powered by House's protean slide guitar and powerful vocals. Some of his most well known songs are here, and like many musicians who came up during that period, House battled the church and the blues during his career, so many of his blues had a gospel tinge like the opening "John the Revelator" and the sarcastic "Preachin' the Blues." House is at his most haunting on the very powerful "Death Letter Blues" and the acapella "Grinnin' in Your Face." The second disc has alternate takes of some of the songs featured above as well as masterful performances of jumping blues "Shake It and Break It" and "Pony Blues." This is some really authoritative and masterful music. Of all the great blues singers of the 20's and 30's that resumed their careers in the 1960's few showed as much fire and passion as Son House.

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