365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 27

Roy Rogers – Chops Not Chaps

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Hearing this record for the first time—that was the first day I began to believe that I myself might have a career in this music.

It was the first time I thought it possible that a young white kid like me might be able to tunnel a way into the realm of the gods, where strode the likes of Son House, Robert Johnson, Skip James, and so many more.

If Roy could do it, perhaps I could do it?

It was the first time of many times I determined that someday, I would sign a record deal with Blind Pig Records.

I did sign a record deal with Blind Pig Records. I signed it in 1994, 8 years after Chops Not Chaps came out. I signed it on a table in a cafe in North Beach. It was one of the most important days of my life.

Will listening to this album change the direction of your life as it did mine? I don’t know.

Today, a career as a slide guitarist coming out of the country blues tradition isn’t so rare as it was back then. Back then there was no Martin Scorsese presenting the blues. There wasn’t a No Depression magazine. Americana wasn’t a genre. Contemporary Blues Album and Traditional Blues Album were not Grammy categories. There weren’t a whole lot of teenagers running around talking about Kokomo Arnold and Mississippi John Hurt.

But you should listen to this album anyway. It’s a pioneering work, and deserves to be revered as such. Maybe it will change your life. It DOES have that power. And I say ME for a parable.


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