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Author Topic: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?  (Read 3283 times)

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tommersl

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Here is the proof...

I never heard anyone else getting in touch with Lemon's music as good as Lightnin' Hopkins.
Any other suggestions?

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2007, 01:21:56 AM »
OK they both came from Texas, but on this example that's where the similarity ends (to my cloth ears).

This came up as a link when I was watching Lightnin':


Fortunately you can't hear much of the banjo.....
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

tommersl

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 02:38:36 AM »
I am just listening again to Lemon "Beggin Back" and Hopkins catches the tilt of the song very fine to my ear. I wonder whether anyone else ever dealt with Lemon's repertoire like that.

Online Prof Scratchy

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 07:15:24 AM »
Rumour has it that Ari Eisinger makes a decent fist of it! Also, can anyone remember the name of the white singer who did a version of Matchbox blues in the thirties sometime? I've got the track somewhere at home but can't put my hands on it.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 07:33:23 AM »
Rumour has it that Ari Eisinger makes a decent fist of it! Also, can anyone remember the name of the white singer who did a version of Matchbox blues in the thirties sometime? I've got the track somewhere at home but can't put my hands on it.

It was Larry Hensley, doing a very faithful cover of Matchbox indeed.

I've never thought of Lightnin' as having a Lemony sound, though certainly enjoyed the YouTube clip above. This version of Take Me Back would seem to me atypical of his style, but I am not a Lightnin' expert by any stretch, and I know there are far more knowledgeable Lightnin' lovers here.

One fellow who does take the Lemon sound, and then does his own thing with it, is Ramblin' Thomas.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 08:59:14 AM »
One fellow who does take the Lemon sound, and then does his own thing with it, is Ramblin' Thomas.

And, to my ears, King Soloman Hill.

Alex

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 10:25:53 AM »
I've never thought of Lightnin' as having a Lemony sound, though certainly enjoyed the YouTube clip above. This version of Take Me Back would seem to me atypical of his style, but I am not a Lightnin' expert by any stretch, and I know there are far more knowledgeable Lightnin' lovers here.
LH candidly stated on several occasions that, unlike his older brother Joel, he was too young to have had much personal contact with BLJ but heard many of his records. What follows is extracted from from Jazz Journal, November 1960 from a three part serialisation entitled "A Conversation With Lighnin' Hopkins" conducted by Mack McCormick in 1959:

M: Joel was telling me about how he used to get drunk with Blind Lemon Jefferson. He told me about playing craps with him and how Lemon'd feel the dice with his fingers.
S: Yeah, Joel knew him real good. Course I knew him but I was still young.
M: You were explaining something about Lemon's 'Lectric Chair Blues the other day. What was that?
S: Yeah?he said, 'Wonder why it's people cut out the light one hour at night. Because the current?if they'd cut out the lights?it'd be more stronger for the 'lectric chair to kill the man. That'd come about one o'clock at night.
M: That's about the penitentiary at Huntsville?
S. No, that was Groesbeck.
M: Groesbeck is where you heard him sing it you mean? But the electric chair is in Huntsville.
S: That's right. He was singing about the one o'clock hour of night at Huntsville when the lights fade out.
M: Where'd you first come in contact with Blind Lemon?
S: Buffalo, Texas. He was playing at the association grounds. That's where all the delegates, preachers?they'd get there and they'd have a wonderful time. Church, they had a tabernacle there you know. Well, they'd have church in the tabernacle. And they'd sell sody water out on the grounds. So that's just the way they had their times?and it'd last for days, long time. They'd all come together.
M: Was Texas Alexander there?
S: Sure. And I was there. I was kinda courtin' them little girls a little. And I'd sing the blues too. I was going right along. And I never did just complement Blind Lemon but after he would play a song, well he'd say he had a little friend wanted to do a number so I'd go on and do mine. Me and him we'd never just play together you understand but he'd play his and I'd play mine.
M: What were some of those first songs you did?
S: Well, way back then, Trip This Town was one and I made a little song about a little school girl. 'Can I go home with you, you can tell your momma and your poppa, poor Lightnin's a school boy too.'?which it was 'Sam' at that time.
M: Was Lonnie Johnson around Buffalo?
S: Yeah, he was there.
M: What about Howlin Wolf?[Funny Papa Smith]
S: No, I never saw him there.
M: When did you run into him?
S: Oh, it was about '30 something, about '35 or '36. That was on the Murray farm. That was in Houston county. That was 'cross the river from Leon County. Round Crockett, back down on the Murray's farm.
M: All these people we've been talking about are from one rather small part of Texas?
S: Yeah, or that is, that's where I met em at. I couldn't say where they was from?you know they may have been just drifting. Except Blind Lemon and Texas Alexander?I know they both come from near my home. Blind Lemon was from just north of me. Texas Alexander was from Houston County. He was my cousin, my first cousin on my momma's side. After Lonnie Johnson left, Texas and I worked together on West Dallas Street. It was just about ten blocks from where we're sitting now?Texas and I'd work up and down the street, him and me.
M: And you all got together in the Piney Woods?
S: Yeah, up in East Texas, what they call the Piney Woods.
M: Turpentine camps and lumber mills huh?
S: Yeah, and they grow cotton down in the bottoms. Now they messing up with them oil wells.
M: Have you travelled much thru' other parts of the South?
S: Oh, I did quite a bit. I went to Arizona, California. Practically?near about everywhere. Mississippi. Tennessee. Louisiana. All around.
M: Did you meet any other blues singers in Mississippi?
S: No, I was the only one at that time. It wasn't very long.

[Hope I haven't already posted this elsewhere at WC, didn't think to check the LH tags before scanning the section ::)]

Offline MTJ3

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Re: Lightnin' Hopkins the only guy who could sound like Lemon ever?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2007, 09:11:07 AM »
Interesting info as always, BH.  There are often reports of this or that bluesman having played in one seemingly implausible location or another, and the possibility of Lonnie Johnson's peregrinations in Texas (esp. with Texas Alexander) never really occurred to me before reading the interview of Hopkins.  B&GR confirms that Johnson did, in fact, record with Texas Alexander in San Antonio, Texas on 9-10 March 1928.

 


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