52 Weeks of Music

Son House – Delta Blues and Spirituals

Posted in Uncategorized by Mark on January 1, 2009

I’ve been thinking a bit about how to start this thing – if you’re going to go through 52 albums which one goes first? I was tempted to go with something that means to most to me, but then I started thinking about context & how to set the scene. There’s going to be plenty of time for those favourites. So if you are going to set context where do you start? Do you go back to the Beattles or the Stones? Back to Buddy Holly & Chuck Berry? Muddy Waters? What about Duke Ellington? They have to fit in there somewhere. Then I started thinking about a couple of names I’d heard a lot about, but hadn’t listened to a whole lot; Son House and Robert Johnson. These old blues legends, in my mind at least, seem to be very close to the source of contemporary music. So if we’re going to start let’s start with Son House, only because he recorded a few years earlier than Robert Johnson…

Son House

Son House

Eddie James “Son” House, Jr was born in 1902 in Mississippi and grew up in Louisiana.

House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music. House was an important influence on Muddy Waters and also on Robert Johnson. A seminal Delta blues figure, he remains influential today, with his music being covered by blues-rock groups such as The White Stripes.

Son House died in 1988. The CD this week, Delta Blues and Spirituals is a live recording:

Recorded live for an enthusiastic audience at London’s 100 Club on June 30 and July 14 of 1970 during House’s final European tour, Delta Blues and Spirituals is a great last look at a true blues legend. Though Son House would live another 18 years after this recording, he would only perform for five more, and by most accounts he was only a shadow of his former self relatively shortly after this collection’s release. Thus, Delta Blues and Spirituals remains one of the last vibrant documents of one of the most essential fathers of Delta blues at the top of his game. – http://www.answers.com/topic/delta-blues-and-spirituals

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Allmusic Review

Overall, the disc makes for a compelling listen from start to finish, and definitely serves as more than just an impressive historical footnote.
allmusic ★★★★☆

Sample: http://blip.fm/profile/markstanton/blip/7088000

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2 Responses

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  1. Bron said, on January 4, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    So far so like. Enjoyed the music especially because initially it put my mind to ‘Searching for Caleb’ by Anne Tyler “…tell the folks at Whiskey Alley I ain’t never comin’ back.”

    But I think Son House will always remind me of looking out at sun-drenched fields zooming past my window and a freezing cold day in summer. On that day in a little country cottage a father and three sons slipped on their grey suits, contemplated single or double knots for their ties, then set off for the father’s wedding.

  2. […] Posted in Uncategorized by markstanton on January 5th, 2009 You might have noticed that last week I cheated slightly – while I picked an artist who was there at the start, I picked a recording that […]


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