Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Robert Nighthawk & Houston Stackhouse|
Masters Of Modern Blues
Genres: Blues, Pop
Classic blues sides
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 01/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Split about equally between Robert Nighthawk and his former neighbor Houston Stackhouse, this is another fine entry in the "Blues Masters" series.
Nighthawk's sides, which include a take on his classic "Black Angel Blues", were cut in October 1964 (with the exception of one song, "Kansas City", which was committed to tape five months earlier, and features Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica). He is backed only by guitarist Johnny Young and harpist Big John Wrencher, but Young plays some fine slap-back acoustic rhythm guitar, keeping the beat going behind Robert Nighthawk's subtle picking and searing slide playing, and John Wrencher's fluid harmonica bolsters the sound nicely.
Nighthawk was a severely underrated performer, a brilliant slide guitarist who influenced men like Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker, and supposedly even Elmore James, and who played some of the smoothest and most original slide guitar you'll ever hear.
His version of Lucille Bogan's "Black Angel Blues" is one of his best (and most frequently covered) songs, and that one, along with "Crying Won't Help You" and "I'm Gettin' Tired", show off his superb slide playing (he seemingly plays without the bottleneck on most or all of the remaining numbers, churning out some delightful single-string fills).
Johnny Young, a featured performer in his own right, takes a lead vocal on "Kidman blues", before the second half of the original LP is relinquished to the big, burly Houston Stackhouse and his August, 1967 session (which has Robert Nighthawk on electric guitar, his last recordings before his death little more than a month later).
If you own Arhoolie's 2000 reissue of Sonny Boy Williamson's album "King Biscuit Time", you can see the only picture I've ever come across of Houston Stackhouse - he is playing the guitar, standing to Rice Miller's right.
Obviously inspired by Delta legend Tommy Johnson (he even covers Johnson's "Cool Drink Of Water Blues"), Stackhouse lays down some fine slow blues tunes, backed by Nighthawk and drummer James Curtis. His style is classic Delta blues, somewhat down-home (which isn't a bad thing), and even though these songs aren't as instantly memorable as prime cuts by Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf or Elmore James, Houston Stackhouse's eight contributions are certainly worth a listen.
"Beginners" should start with Robert Nighthawks' fabulous "Live On Maxwell Street" album, but this one is a great purchase for blues fans who want a little more than just the bare-bones essentials."