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LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS AN Introduction To
Fuel 302 061 595 2 (2006)

While this album once again touches on Sam Lightnin' Hopkins' role in contemporary music it barely traces his role in the shift from Country and Folk Blues to Urban Blues. And while his place in the pantheon of Texas guitar slingers is once again given credence, you can't help but ask the question what does this collection add to the vast amount of stuff that is already out there?

Having heard this album a number of occasions, aside from a few wry smiles generated by a live cuts such as 'Mighty Crazy' he introduces the song with the line, 'Its mighty crazy to keep rubbing that same old thing' - and the brace of rock blues proto types 'Rock Me Mama', which reverts to 'Rock me Baby' in the opening line, and the spoken word vocal of 'Lightnin' Boogie', it's a case of more of what's already out there.

Aside from John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins probably recorded more material than any other blues artist of a similar stature and so to use the title 'An Introduction To Lightnin' Hopkins' has to be taken lightly. As a result these 24 remastered tracks are being marketed at a budget price.

That being the case, this album is probably aimed at the casual blues listener who will still doubtlessly enjoy 'West Texas Blues' on which Sam adds some lovely fluent notes and the poignant deep blues of 'Vietnam War Blues'. This album might indeed be 'An introduction to Sam Lightnin' Hopkins', but an essential purchase, I'm not so sure.

**

Review by Pete Feenstra

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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