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Hard Time Killing Floor Blues Original recording remastered

5.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, July 15, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

The first sessions following the storied "rediscovery" of this hugely influential Delta bluesman, recorded in Falls Church, Virginia in '64 and remastered for pristine sound! He performs early classics plus songs he'd just written; Worried Blues; Catfish Blues; Devil Got My Woman; Sick Bed Blues ...his unusual guitar tunings and haunting falsetto are positively arresting.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 15, 2003)
  • Rmst ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Shout Factory
  • ASIN: B00009ZYD8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,080 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Nehemiah Curtis 'Skip' James is credited as the founder of the 'Bentonia school' of Delta blues. In reality, James was the full embodiment of this idiom, and Biograph's 'Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers' is an excellent overview. The CD contains 12 songs James recorded in one sitting at Falls Church, VA, on December 16, 1964. These were the first recordings James had made since being 'rediscovered' in a Mississipi hospital earlier that year. On the track list are six works from the early days of Skip James' career, including the classics 'Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,' 'Devil Got My Woman,' 'Cherry Ball Blues,' and 'Cypress Grove Blues.' The remaining songs are either reworked Delta standards or newer material written by James. The listener will not be disappointed; the digital transfer of this recording is as impressive as the performances. 'Hardtime Killing Floor Blues' is considered by some as the penultimate Depression era song, and James' eerie performance here suggests what could be the lament of the downtrodden for all ages. His aged voice soars in a lonely falsetto against the backdrop of ominous bass string lines and nervous upper string picking. The guitar work throughout maintains this constant tension between low register anger and high-pitched fear. James' voice sounds as if it seeks escape from theses dark extremes. Unlike other Delta artists, James did not use a slide. His was an elaborate finger-picking style more akin to Piedmont bluesmen like Brownie McGhee and Cephas & Wiggins. He was also fond of using drop E tuning and dissonant solos to heighten the tension of his music.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
This remastered edition of Skip James' 1964 Biograph LP GREATEST OF THE DELTA BLUES SINGERS is a testament to how well his material as aged over the past four decades. James first recorded for Paramount in 1931 and then virtually disappeared until 1964 when (among others) John Fahey rescued him from obscurity. It had been nearly 20 years since James was convinced to perform at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. His reception prompted him to enter the recording studio for the first time in 30 years. The result is this amazing album. Twelve stellar songs featuring James' haunting falsetto and stunning picking. There's an eerie quality to James' music that will give you chills. One listen will convince you. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Format: Audio CD
Skip James was a contemporary of Robert Johnson who possessed an eerie falsetto voice and pristine fingerpicking. James quit music entirely after making some legendary sides in the 30's and this recording was his first in over 20 years. The title track, his anthem for the Great Depression, was featured on "Oh, Brother Where Art Thou?" when Chris Thomas King played it by the campfire. This album intimately captures James' haunting playing and offers a chance to hear an original master in a high quality recording.
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Skip James recorded the songs on this CD in 1964, the same year he was "rediscovered" and performed at the Newport Folk Festival. This is simply one of the most direct blues recordings I've heard. This is just Skip James, nothing is added to the performances. Skip James frequently sings in a melancholy falsetto and accompanies himself on acoustic guitar tuned to minor keys. Even when he sings in a lower register he sounds like he is mumbling or talking to himself, which makes the music seem turned inward, as opposed to shouting out the blues to the world. This is dark, deep, brooding blues, and is such a great listen. The sound quality is great too and it sounds like he is right in the room with you. Skip James sings of his battle with cancer on "Washington D.C. Hospital Center Blues" and of course sings about woman trouble on songs like "Devil Got My Woman", my favorite song on this CD. This is one of my favorite acoustic blues CD's, there are times when only Skip James can hit the spot. The way he delivered his vocals was unique and combined with his guitar playing made for some incredible music. If you are a fan of acoustic blues Skip James has to be in your collection, and this disc is a great place to start.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful CD because it isn't mixed real well. The guitar is bright and clear and pushed forward. Someone who plays guitar (or who is intensely interested in guitar) must have mixed this recording. It'll amaze you how good a guitarist James was, whether as a soloist or accompanying his own voice. It becomes obvious where a lot of Robert Johnson comes from - stratlingly good playing. The voice/vocals are pushed back a bit and somewhat muddy. So, I listen to other Skip James recording for vocals and lyrics, but this is the one to listen to if you want to study a master guitarist at work. Invaluable.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I often find myself frustrated when I track down the recordings of various Blues legends, only to find the sound quality terrible. I grew up on Blues inspired Rock, and spent countless hours analyzing chords and solos, and find myself less than satisfied with scratchy hissing recordings of the Blues greats.

This recording is wonderful! The sound quality is fantastic, as he returned to record this in 1964. The price of the CD is worth it just to get the title song, and the rest of the CD demonstrates his range. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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