Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Walkies For The Hellhound

“Devil Got My Woman” by Skip James

Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s big statement is as follows:

There are people who make music, and there are people who are chasing something down. They have an intent that goes way beyond music. And it can get scary.

Charles Gayle, an unbelievably great Tenor player, said in an interview that he would give it up in an instant if he believed it was God’s will that he should do so. You listen to June Tabor sing “Lay This Body Down” and what you hear is pure sadness. The music is transparent, vanishing in front of you because the emotion is so intense. And then there’s Cindytalk, a band of incomparable single bloody mindedness and beauty. There’s a new album out soon, by the way.

So to Skip James. It doesn’t take long to realise that the hackneyed version of the Blues has very little to do with the likes of this. This is the part of the entertainment industry that isn‘t, if you know what I mean. Just like all of the above. Yet here he is, restored and reissued by Document Records, a label that people live by. Honestly. Get the catalogue if you can, it’s amazing.

I’ve spent a week trying to figure out what to say about his voice. A waste of time. But I can tell you what it does to me: it makes me hunch over slightly, breathe shallow, narrow my eyes. Because it brings some thing else into the room, and I don’t know what it is…

Buy - Skip James - Complete 1931 Recordings Amazon
Visit - Trail of The Hellhound: Delta Blues In The Lower Mississippi Valley

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