Autobiography in Blues (Remastered) Lightnin' Hopkins
- 1In the Evening the Sun is Going Down04:13
- 2Trouble in Mind02:53
- 3Mama and Papa Hopkins04:44
- 4The Foot Race is On02:42
- 5That Gambling Life04:51
- 6When the Saints Go Marching In02:44
- 7Get off My Toe04:59
- 875 Highway04:11
- 9Bottle It up and Go03:42
- 10Short Haired Woman03:38
- 11So Long Baby01:47
- 12Santa Fe Blues03:10
Info for Autobiography in Blues (Remastered)
The famous bluesman's stellar recordings for Tradition epitomized Lightnin's spare "country blues" which was in contrast to the brash and bold Chicago blues so commercially appealing at the time. Lightnin' started his career singing on Houston's street corners for change and drink and his best performances are those intimate concerts. Lightnin's first two albums for Tradition (AUTOBIGRAPHY IN BLUES and COUNTRY BLUES) were just that--down and dirty, out and out blues, honest and true--perfect documents of Lightnin's style, songs and performance. From the honest portrayal of a family in disarray in "Mama And Papa Hopkins" to the long long road of his Texas youth he sang of in "75 Highway," to the street corner busking given a turn in "Get Off My Toe," Autobiography contains as much of the life this great bluesman lived as could be hammered into twelve concise songs. Those who came later to the life of the blues were deeply influenced by Lightnin'. The Tradition reissue of this album contain the original comprehensive liner notes by Producer Mack McCormick. The mastertapes were sonically cleansed and digitally remastered for this release.
"Hopkins had been a prolific recording artist in the decade following his first sessions in 1948. His stark, functional guitar style and rich Texas drawl made his work instantly recognizable. The inheritor of a blues tradition that went back to Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander, he was an idiosyncratic musician, at his best when playing alone. His predecessors' work was reflected in his first album session, recorded by Sam Charters in January 1959. Not having recorded commercially for several years, Lightnin' was in serious mood, resulting in a set of masterful performances that carried more weight than his later, frequently arbitrary sessions." (AMG)
Lightnin' Hopkins, vocals, guitar
Sam Lightnin' Hopkins
Born in Centerville, Texas, Hopkins learned the blues when young in Buffalo, Texas from Blind Lemon Jefferson and his older cousin, country-blues singer Alger 'Texas' Alexander. When Hopkins and Alexander were playing in Houston in 1946, he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum of Los Angeles', Aladdin Records (although Alexander would not make it out to L.A.) Hopkins' fast finger style is very distinct.
He settled in Houston in 1952 and gained much attention. Solid recordings followed including his masterpiece song Mojo Hand in 1960.
His style was born from spending many hours playing informally without a backing band. His distinctive style often included playing, in effect, bass, rhythm, lead, percussion, and vocals, all at the same time. His musical phrasing would often include a long low note at the beginning, the rhythm played in the middle range, then the lead in the high range. By playing this quickly - with occasional slaps of the guitar - the effect of bass, rhythm, percussion and lead would be created.
In 1968 Hopkins recorded the album Free Form Patterns backed by psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators.
Hopkins was a great influence on many local musicians around Houston and Austin, Texas in the 1950s and 1960s. He was an influence on Jimmie Vaughan's work and, more significantly, on the vocals and blues style of Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, the keyboardist of the Grateful Dead until 1972. He was also an important influence on Townes Van Zandt, the Texan folk/blues songwriter and performer, who often performed Hopkins numbers in his live performances. Doyle Bramhall II is another Texas artist who was influenced by Hopkins, as evidenced by a tattoo of Lightning on his upper left arm. Jimi Hendrix reportedly became interested in blues music listening to Lightnin' Hopkins records with his father.
A song named after him was recorded by R.E.M. on their album Document.
The Houston Chronicle included Hopkins in their list of "100 Tall Texans", 100 important Texans that influenced the world. The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum included Hopkins in a 100 Tall Texans exhibit that opened in September 2006. The display includes Lightnin's Guild Starfire electric guitar and performance video.
Hopkins' Gibson J-160e guitar is on display at the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982).
This album contains no booklet.