' soft eerie falsetto and odd guitar tunings place him apart from other Delta blues players, and when he took a turn at the piano, that, too, was unique. His reputation rests on a dozen or so sides recorded in the late '20s and early '30s, but when he was rediscovered in the 1960s, his skills were still intact and he recorded for several small labels before his death in 1969. This collection is drawn from that rediscovery period and opens with five piano pieces, including James
' turn at the Little Brother Montgomery
tune "Vicksburg Blues." The balance of the album is given over to guitar tracks and "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues," "Illinois Blues," and "I'm So Glad" (a hit for Cream
in an electric version) are particularly strong. The sequence here could have been improved by mixing the piano tracks in throughout rather than presenting them all together at the top of the set, but that is a minor complaint in what is a nice introduction to the most haunting of bluesmen.