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Vanguard Sessions: Blues From The Delta
Skip James
Vanguard Sessions: Blues From The Delta
Genres: Blues, Pop


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CD Details

All Artists: Skip James
Title: Vanguard Sessions: Blues From The Delta
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Vanguard Records
Original Release Date: 8/11/1998
Release Date: 8/11/1998
Genres: Blues, Pop
Styles: Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Acoustic Blues
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 015707951722, 090204663255, 015707951722

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CD Reviews

Beautiful Blues from the Delta
Simon Thomas | 05/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of the most hauntingly beautiful collections of blues I have ever heard. Skip James was a man of the Mississipi Delta and his music reflects his origins. The sound is sparse, the rhythms a melancholic mix of country, blues and ragtime. Over the top of deceptively simple arrangements for piano and acoustic guitar (to both of which James lends his distinctive sound), James' desolate falsetto recalls the deep sorrows of Depression-era black men with great poignancy.While many of the songs on this collection at least superficially reflect the theme of lost love, there are darker moments too:
"Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" is a bleak and resigned commentary on the racial hatred and economic injustices faced by America's black poor in the 1930s; "Sick Bed Blues" explores the tragedy of a man alone.Yet this CD is also infused with a real lightness of spirit: "... Hospital Center Blues" is a tribute to the musicians who rediscovered James in the 1960s and moved him to a private hospital so he could receive better treatment; and "Catfish Blues", with its refrain "I would rather be a little catfish/ so I could swim way down in the sea/ I wouldn't have no women/ setting out a line for me", is a refreshingly light fantasy of escape from impossible love.The CD comprises recordings from the 1960s albums "Today!" and "Devil Got My Woman", so listeners don't have to cope with the appalling background hiss on re-releases of James' early Paramount sessions. Tracks 18 and 19 have never been previously released and are as brilliant as anything else on this incredible album.Even if you have never heard of Skip James, you should check out this awesome collection of music from one of the Blues' truly great unsung masters."
Gorgeous, Simply Amazing
Barnaby Thieme | San Francisco, CA | 12/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Skip James is absolutely amazing! Anyone who says the latter-day Skip James can't play the guitar like he used to hasn't been listening. Just listen to the song Catfish Blues to see what I mean. It sounds like a wild animal escaping from his heart and bursting from his guitar. The fidelity of this work compared to his 30's recordings is obviously far superior - this is a modern-sounding, professionally recorded album. The guitar is crisp and clear, rich and full. Most notably though the full rich timbre of James' voice is fully evident. I'm not as fond of his piano work, though it's clearly very competent. A wonderful album by one of the great singer/songwriters of the last century. Of course, his Complete Early Recordings is also indespensible."
A fine collection of James' best latter-day sides
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 04/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"These tracks may not be quite as intense as Skip James' prewar singles, but from an audio standpoint they're certainly easier to take.
Committed to tape in 1966 and 1968, many of these twenty songs are re-recordings of the classic 30s singles which originally made Nehemiah "Skip" James famous. "Devil Got My Woman" is here, and so is "Little Cow, Little Calf Is Gonna Die Blues", "Crow Jane", "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues", and several other highlights including James' version of "Careless Love", and a number of fine songs from his 60s repertoire. Skip James accompanies himself on guitar and piano, and his piano playing is almost as idiosyncratic as his work on the guitar.
James is probably something of an acquired taste, to be honest...he usually sings in a slightly eerie, fragile-sounding falsetto, his guitar is weirdly tuned, and his music is certainly much less accessible than that of, say, Muddy Waters or even Robert Johnson and Son House.
But if you know what you're getting into, and are looking for a good collection of James' "rediscovery" recordings to go with his original 30s singles, this fine compilation is for you. Newcomers should definitely start with "The Complete Early Recordings Of Skip James", however."