An Expat Life: Nicaragua Blues and Ruse

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday Morning Blues on a Wednesday

Two more weeks before our newest addition to the family...Prospective parenthood, work, and other obligations have limited my blogness.

Folks, I can't get enough Blues. This week, after a long hiatus, I want to introduce you to a lesser known legend of yesteryear, Cryin' Sam Collins. Collins, one of the first recorded slide players, hailed from Louisiana in 1887, performing mostly right across the border in McComb, Mississippi in the early 1920s, recording some sides for Gennett Records later on.

A lesser known 'Delta' player, Crying Sam is similar in voice to Tommy Johnson, yet he doesn't have the same haunting quality, or feel, in the vocal delivery. Indeed, he is a cross between Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson....Delta-Lite, if you will. His most famous side was perhaps, Jailhouse Blues, a well-sung, well-played classic blues. However, this early Delta bluesman actually recorded Midnight Special Blues before Leadbelly. Although I prefer Mr. Ledbetter's, it's interesting to hear an early variation of the song. Not unlike Leadbelly, Collins dabbles in different sub-styles within the blues, playing a variation of the oft-recorded Shake That Thing, here it's Do That Thing, a dance piece that makes you smell the pine wood and corn liquor on a Saturday night.

In all, I'd recommend Collins for a change of pace from the usual suspects....the oft-mentioned greats, such as Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Skip James, Furry Lewis, and company. Check out Jailhouse Blues on the Yazoo Record reissue for a great collection of his material

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