Although he was one of the most popular bluesmen in the Delta, Son House wouldn't record again until 1942 when Alan Lomax taped and Alan Caplin produced him for the Library of Congress on this legendary release, which finds the singer in awesome form.
House was born Eddie James House Jr., March 21, 1902, in Clarksdale, Miss. and would eventually grow into one of the greatest exponents of Mississippi Delta blues. A sharecropper, House taught himself to play guitar, developing a highly dramatic slide guitar style. House's slashing slide guitar, dark, moaning vocals and walking bass lines inspired Robert Johnson.
After the recording of "Delta Blues," House took a job as a railway porter, moved to Rochester, N.Y., and forgot about music. However, House's rediscovery in 1964 helped fuel the first blues boom, and he made a courageous comeback. Although he hadn't picked up the guitar in nearly two decades, House quickly redeveloped his technique.
The 15-track CD with newly expanded liner notes reveals House's main inspirations: Charley Patton, Willie Brown and Willie Wilson. This updated version of "Delta Blues," which originally was released in 1991, has been digitally remastered from the original Library of Congress acetates, and is a must for anyone interested in the early history of the blues.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.