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I first came across Son House whilst watching The Howlin' Wolf Story, there was footage of the guy at a blues get together in the 60s, hammered out of his skull, being intrusive and playing his guitar rather violently. Howlin' Wolf had once been friends with him in the 20s but claimed he'd wasted his life away with a love for whisky.
As a youth, Son House had sought to become a pastor, he was extremely talented with a guitar in his hands and is often dubbed as the person who taught Robert Johnson how to play guitar because as a youngster Johnson used to follow him around seeking to immitate his style and failing to do so. A stretch in prison for shooting a man dead who was spraying bullets in a juke joint he happened to be playing at, seemed to have hardened him from a god-loving man to a devil music playing drunk!
The Original Delta Blues album is made up of recordings mostly from the 60s, at a time where Son House was sort of down and out and was "shown" how to play as he used to by Canned Heat guitarist Alan Wilson who was a big fan. The resulting sound was Son House picking up where he had once left off, belting out somewhat spiritual and gospellish lyrics in a very strong manner, giving it a rough and ready sound.
The rythms repeat themselves over and over again, he slides down the fingerboard on the bottleneck whilst thrashing at the guitar strings rather than strumming, giving it a rather edgy sound that leaves the listener worrying for the state of the strings!
This is as good example as any of Son House's work and the recording quality is of a rather good standard, although there's just enough of a grainy sound to ensure it sounds authentic! Death Letter is my favourite track, an album that's well worth buying to listen to on a Sunday afternoon!
This review was also posted on my website http://www.musicneverdied.com
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Death Letter
3 Louise Mcghee
4 John The Revelator
5 Empire State Express
6 Preachin' Blues
7 Grinnin' In Your Face
9 Levee Camp Moan
10 Pony Blues
11 Downhearted Blues
12 Motherless Children
13 President Kennedy
14 Yonder Comes My Mothe