Skip James – Another of the Rediscovered


Skip James was rediscovered in Mississippi in 1964, at almost the same time that Son House was finally tracked down in Rochester, N. Y. A few weeks later James was electrifying a Newport crowd with his high-pitched, insistent singing. He often showed outright disdain for his audiences, and could be indifferent toward rehearsals and practices. This, and his declining health (he died in 1969), made him less visible than John Hurt or Furry Lewis, who presented friendlier faces to their new young, white audiences. But when Skip was right, he could shake your soul, and some of his 1960s records can stand proudly next to those 1931 Paramount sides (there are only eighteen) that justly place him with the blues’ greatest singers.

The video shows Skip at his rediscovered best, playing in an informal setting for a small audience which fortunately included a couple of cameras. His voice had softened, his tempo had slowed, but he still could sing the blues. Enjoy!

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