September 09, 2003
Shout! Factory

Album Review

Skip James' 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.
Steve Leggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. 22-20 Blues
  2. Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues
  3. Special Rider Blues
  4. Vicksburg Blues
  5. 61 Highway
  6. How Long Blues
  7. Sickbed Blues
  8. I Don't Want a Woman to Stay Up All Night Long
  9. Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues
  10. Skip's Worried Blues
  11. Illinois Blues
  12. Cypress Grove Blues
  13. Cherry Ball Blues
  14. Crow Jane
  15. Everybody's Leaving Here
  16. I'm So Glad