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I've been a lifetime (nearly 40 years) music lover. I've only had a mild flirtation with the blues, and mostly Chicago blues at that. I decided to check out House after hearing Jack White speak of him as an influence. Bought this collection as it seemed to cover the essential works of this blues legend. The experience I've had can be called nothing short of a complete revelation. While House's guitar work is simply amazing it's his vocal performances that set him apart. Few can open their soul and pour it out through their art like this man could. I do not exaggerate when I say this stuff hit me like a sledge hammer. The passion coming through in House's playing and singing I have rarely experienced. If you are a blues fan and don't know this guy you've got to check him out. If you are exploring the blues he may make everyone else seem obsolete
A lot of blues has more than a bit of braggadocio to it, but not Son House. It's the REAL real thing. If you can get through the end of his1965 version of "Death Letter Blues" without shedding a tear, check your pulse. You are probably dead too. Same goes for the rest of all Son House's later music
There is no Howlin' Wolf belting out a tune or John Lee Hooker celebrating his anger (don't get me wrong; I love all of them). There is just The Blues. One of the greatest musical artists of all time period (and quite a good person)
Get the complete 1965 sessions on Columbia Legacy here if shelf place permits it. It has plenty of outtakes that you won't want to be without. The entire 1965 session I do believe.
The songs on this CD are 11 of Son House's best. They are a very good representation of his brand of Original Mississippi Delta Acoustic Blues. What makes this CD different than "A Proper Introduction to Son House" CD, is that the original Son House Songs on "A Proper Intro..." were recorded back in 1941 & 1942 by Alan Lomax (for the Library of Congress), on a portable recording machine, on site in the Mississippi Delta. Son House moved from Mississippi to Rochester, NY in 1942, and became somewhat "retired" from the Blues. However, during the Blues Revival of the 1960's Son House was "re-discovered", and he returned to performing & recording, and the songs on this CD are songs that were recorded in a "real" recording studio back in 1965, in New York City. So, the quality of these recordings are much better than his original ones recorded back in 1941 & 1942.
Son House was a "Southern Legend" and also an "American Music Legend". He walked a thin line between being a Baptist Preacher, and a "Juke Joint" Bluesman. His spiritual side really shows in the song "John the Revelator". As many other reviewers pointed out, Son House was very influentual to many other Blues Artists, especally Robert Johnson.
How I became aware of Son House, is from the Lynyrd Skynyrd Song "Swamp Music", written by the late/great Ronnie Van Zant. In the song, it states:..."I'm going down to the swamp, gonna watch my hound dogs catch that coon...When the Hound Dogs start barking, they sound like "...Son House singing the Blues..." I did some research and found out that Ronnie Van Zant & Lynyrd Skynyrd were very influenced by Son House, and they really admired his music.
This particular CD contains 11 of Son House's Songs at their VERY BEST!!! I highly recommend this particular CD. Thanks and I hope this review has been helpful.