365 Days of Album Recommendations – March 25

Bukka White – Mississippi Blues


It is essentially impossible to stress how important this record was and is to me. Virtually everything I understand about the country blues, and just about every little success I’ve achieved in my career, can likely be traced to something on this album.

Here is where I learned to sing. Here is where I learned to play. Here is where I learned to write. Here is where I learned what it was I wanted to be when I grew up.

I remember buying a vinyl edition; my first copy, and I still have it. I will always have it.

His version of Shake ‘Em On Down deeply, deeply informs the version I started playing some 30 years ago, and still play to this day. It’s on my 2016 album “The Country Blues.” My version of “Baby, Please Don’t Go” which is wholly and totally dependent on Bukka White for it’s style and sound, is on “The National Blues,” also from 2016. The point being, these Bukka White recordings have been shaping my life for three decades now, and show no signs of stopping.

Q: How powerful does music need to be, to completely change a man’s life?
A: This powerful.

These recordings were made almost immediately upon Bukka White’s “rediscovery” in the 60s, for John Fahey’s crucial and seminal Takoma label.

I’ve said it with regards to many other country blues legends as well, but for a confluence of reasons, I find that often, these first “re-emergence” recordings are often the strongest of a country blues artist’s whole career. I think this can be said not just about Bukka White here, but also about Son House, Skip James, and Mississippi John Hurt.

Please, please do yourself a favor, and if you haven’t yet done so, find these recordings, and give yourself over to them. They will change you.

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