Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Son House John the Revelator: Chicago to London Town

Son House
John the Revelator: Chicago to London Town
The Devil's Tunes

Eddie 'Son' House was one of the pillars of the Delta Blues in the thirties, rediscovered in Rochester, New York in 1963 and performed for a little over a decade before retiring. House was of the most compelling blues performers with his raspy, intense vocals and highly percussive, slide guitar. A British label has now compiled a double CD release of House performing and being interviewed. A good portion of this was previously unissued.

The first CD, "Chicago … The Sixties," is from a radio broadcast hosted by Studs Terkel mixed with performances of such House numbers as "Death Letter Blues," "Levee Camp Moan," "I Shall Not Moved," "Preachin' the Blues," Louise McGhee," "Empire Express" and "Grinnin' in Your Face," interspersed with lengthy interview segments with some themes that might be familiar to some from House's monologues in concerts.

The other CD, "London … The Seventies," is taken from performances at London's Club 100 that was issued on English Liberty and reissued an out-of-print EMI country blues reissue. I believe some of the performances may be previously unissued and on the first rendition of "Between Midnight and Day," Alan Wilson is heard on harmonica while Delta Dave backs House on "How To Treat a Man." Besides his monologues, other songs heard here include "Levee Camp Blues," "Death Letter Blues," "John the Revelator," and "Grinnin' in Your Face."

House may not have been as accomplished a musician as he was when he recorded for Paramount in the early 1930s and the Library of Congress in the early 1940s, but the sheer forcefulness of his performances in which nothing is held back is simply riveting. When House performed, it was like you were looking into his soul. That is how powerful and mesmerizing he was and why those who have other reissues of House from this time will still want this document of one of the true blues icons.

I purchased this recording. Here is Son House with Buddy Guy on second guitar.

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