Son House – Father of Folk Blues
I think we’re all familiar with the idea of “Desert Island” albums. This is one such album for me. And yes, I have this on vinyl. Just like the one you see in the picture. Original. Got it when I was 17 years old. Father of Folk Blues. Not Delta Blues. Folk Blues.
This is one of the greatest albums ever recorded, period.
There are those who will debate whether these recordings are greater or lesser than the Library of Congress recordings from the 40s, or even the Paramount recordings from the 30s. To my way of thinking, there is no debate. This is the album. This is when it all comes together for Son House. He is old enough, worn enough, seasoned enough, mature enough, to be wholly himself. Free of an era, free of influence.
He is also as of yet free of the debilitations that would soon progressively strike him.
This is the lion in winter.
This IS Son House.
Yes, I know Alan Wilson plays on the album. Yes, I’ve heard the quote about Wilson supposedly teaching Son House to play Son House.
Bollocks shit bollocks to all of that. Irrelevant stuff. Twaddle for academics to get book deals with.
There is one thing no book, no critic, no academic, no theorist, no historian can ever change—the music. Just listen. It’s here. The music. It doesn’t matter the motivation, the context, the history, the extenuating circumstances, none of it matters.
Just. Listen. To. The. Music.