I have never written an Amazon review before, but the ridiculous attack by a previous reviewer on the Vanguard Skip James compelled me to rebut. Unlike any other early bluesman rediscovered in the 1960s, James had fundamentally changed his style, adopting a weird falsetto that, to some of us, is the most haunting and soulful sound in blues. Unfortunately, the white fans who spearheaded the blues revival have often been guitar nerds, who note only that James's technical skill on that instrument had deteriorated with age. This is true, but irrelevant to anyone interested in music rather than technique. The fact is, James's 1930s recordings and his 1960s recordings provide quite different experiences, with quite different strengths, and both are extraordinary. The Vanguard sessions are outstanding, among other things, for his new composition, "Washington DC Hospital Blues" (here called "Center Blues"), one of his greatest lyrics. As a longtime blues journalist, who has at times defended Stephen Calt's biography of James, which makes similar disparaging remarks about his later work (as well as some absurdly virulent attacks on James's character), I want to go on record as saying that, if I had to choose one era of his work, I would pick the 1960s. Fortunately, I don't. I can have both, for which I am supremely grateful. But, as my title says, this should be an unneccessary letter. Just listen to the record, and you will find out why virtually all the people who heard James in the 1960s consider it among the supreme musical experiences of their lives.