- Released: October 23, 2001
- Label: Arhoolie Records
Living Blues - 3-4/02, p.78
"...Compiling a 'best of' of Lightnin' Hopkins is both impossible and easy - there's so much good stuff you can never get it all, but you can't go wrong, either..."
- 1.Whiskey Blues
- 2.Come on Baby
- 3.Grosebeck Blues
- 4.Mojo Hand
- 5.Going Home Blues (Going Back and Talk to Mama)
- 6.Jesus, Will You Come by Here
- 7.Tim Moore's Farm
- 8.Have You Ever Loved a Woman
- 9.Big Mama Jump
- 10.Mr. Crow and Bill Quinn
- 11.Unsuccessful Blues
- 12.Bald Headed Woman
- 13.Zolo Go (Zydeco)
- 14.Please Settle in Vietnam
- 15.Short Haired Woman
- 16.Dice Game, The (Talk)
- 17.Once Was a Gambler
Contains tracks from Lightnin' Hopkins' sessions with Gold Star in the 1940s and his later 60's Arhoolie sessions.
Personnel: Lightin' Hopkins (vocals, guitar, piano, organ); Geno Scaggs, geno Landry (bass); Francis Clay, Harold "Frenchy" Joseph, Victor Leonard (drums).
Recorded in Houston, Texas and Berkeley, California between 1947-1950 and 1961-1969. Includes liner notes by Chris Strachwitz.
Personnel: Lightnin' Hopkins (vocals, guitar, piano, organ); Victor Leonard, Francis Clay (drums).
Recording information: Berkeley, CA (1947-1969); Houston, TX (1947-1969).
Editor: Chris Strachwitz.
Photographer: Chris Strachwitz.
While it's probably impossible to fully pin down a best-of from a man who constantly reinvented his own songs, it's only fitting that Arhoolie release this, since Lightnin' Hopkins (or Lightning Hopkins, as he's called here) was the inspiration for Chris Strachwitz to start his label. And while ten of the cuts are culled from Hopkins' Arhoolie recordings, Strachwitz has dug deeper, going back to the bluesman's seminal cuts for the Texas-based Gold Star label in the late '40s, making this a fine career cross-section. Hopkins was the link between the old and the new Texas blues, a man who'd played with the great Blind Lemon Jefferson before going on to influence a generation after his rediscovery in Houston in the late '50s. And while older solo pieces like "Whiskey Blues" and "Grosebeck Blues" seemingly have their roots in the '20s, Hopkins is equally comfortable with a band, as on the riotous "Bald Headed Woman." However, the later material seems geared for his new white audience, unlike the earlier raw juke joint pieces. But Hopkins was a master improviser (much like Bukka White) who could change a lyric on a whim to put across what was on his mind -- meaning there was rarely a definitive performance of any song, however high a standard he maintained. But there was also a strain of protest, whether on "Tim Moore's Farm" or the later "Please Settle in Vietnam," that kept his work topical. And, as an interesting aside, "Zolo Go" might be the very first recorded piece of modern zydeco, with Hopkins on organ attempting what his cousin, Clifton Chenier, would later do so successfully. ~ Chris Nickson