Lightning Hopkins 12 Bar Blues CD
Lightnin' Hopkins didn't sing songs so much as spontaneously make them up on the spot, pulling events from his daily life and matching them to one of his set blues riffs, and when the process worked, the result was a stunning example of the blues as personal catharsis, and when it failed to click, well, it sounded like any of a dozen other Hopkins songs. Add to this the fact that Hopkins often took adventuresome liberties with tempo and time, and he could be a handful for producers looking to jazz up his Texas country blues sound with added instrumentation. Most of what he did fell into a 12-bar blues pattern, as the title of this 20-track collection of Hopkins sides suggests, but he had no problem deviating from that pattern if the spirit moved him, and it’s part of his charm, really. This set isn’t particularly distinctive, but with Lightnin' you always get Lightnin' -- it’s pretty comforting and he was simply one of the most important (and prolific) Texas blues players ever.