365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 16

Great Bluesmen at Newport


It’s December 16th. So I’m recommending what is probably the most important album in my life. This is the one that started it all for me. I was sixteen years old. I had “The Country Blues” by Samuel Charters under my arm as I boarded the city bus to go to the U District in Seattle. There was a Tower Records there, and that’s where I was headed. Because I’d fallen in love with the names and stories in this book, but I didn’t know their music. I knew Muddy Waters. I knew Howlin’ Wolf. I knew Albert King, B.B. King, Albert Collins. I didn’t know Son House, or Lightnin’ Hopkins, or Bukka White, or Mance Lipscomb, or Mississippi John Hurt. I had to know what they sounded like.

I had been playing guitar for a couple years at that point. I wanted to be Joe Strummer. But a strange spell was taking me over. This blues spell. Something was growing inside of me. And it was leading me to Tower Records with “The Country Blues” under my arm. I was determined to find an LP by one of the names in the book.

What I found, was this album. Robert Pete Williams. Son House. Fred McDowell. Skip James. Reverend Gary Davis. They were all there.

I got home. I put the record on. Side One. First song. Mississippi John Hurt. Sliding Delta. For the first time in my life, I knew. Right away. That was it. That. That was what I wanted to do with my life.

And that IS what I did with my life.

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