Sam Hopkins was born in Centerville, Texas in 1912. The epitome of the classic down home blues legend, his first guitar was made from a cigar box and chicken wire when he was 8 years old. He played with legend Blind Lemon Jefferson, who was a friend of the family. In 1920, he teamed up with his cousin, singer, Alger "Texas" Alexander, whose playing style was irregular, not following the standard 12 bar blues form, which made it difficult for other musicians to follow. This style later characterized Hopkins’ work as well.
Lightnin’ scored five national R and B hits between 1949 and 1952 and, refusing to tour, entertained friends and neighbors, locally, playing juke joints, street corners and on buses. It wasn’t until he became part of the folk scene in 1960 with the hit, "Mojo Hand," that he enjoyed more commercial success, began touring and eventually secured his position as one of the most remarkable artists from the rural blues circuit. His music is pure country blues. Whether he was playing acoustic or electric guitar his improvisation and narrative skills created "true songs" - stories told with the eloquence of simplicity and stinging plain speak blues mastery.
After label hopping, he settled for a time with New Jersey based Prestige Records and produced a dozen albums issued under Prestige/Bluesville, Prestige/Folklore and Prestige proper labels. This collection highlights some of his sessions recorded between 1960 and 1964 that produced some compelling remakes of originals such as "Katie Mae," which was first recorded back in 1946, and some interesting examples of his skillful poetry such as his tribute to astronaut, John Glenn.
Also included in this set is a bonus CD featuring other greats such as Willie Dixon and Memphis Slim on "Built for Comfort," Lonnie Johnson on "Big Legged Woman" and Otis Span on "The Blues Never Die."
This is a definite must have for any blues collector. The music of Lightnin’ Hopkins is biting, charged with raw emotion and an indispensable link in the history of rural blues.