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Winter Time Blues

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dark Peak Productions
  • ASIN: 5552611942
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Format: Audio CD
The only thing that's unfortunate about this album is its title. While I have absolutely nothing against the track from which it's derived which is excellent - see below (and I have the single to prove it) - I feel that its use as a title could suggest that Lightnin' was in the fall of his career. While in some respects this was true - the album does take us through to his last recordings for Excello in 1965 and he didn't record anything of great substance from then until his death in 1974 - the quality of his recordings didn't suffer in any way. Indeed this comment applies right across all three of the albums that Ace have issued covering his career with Excello, the others being "Rooster Blues / Bellringer", "It's might crazy" and "Nothin' but the devil". His Excello recording legacy is impressive and warrants favourable comparison with many better known artists.

Broadly coincidental with the period covered by the start of this album there were a couple of changes made to the style of accompaniment for Lightnin's records: he stopped playing lead guitar, instead the lead was taken by various musicians from the Excello's house band, and, a fuller backing band was used with bass guitar, sometimes second guitar, possibly piano, in addition to the usual drums and harmonica (with the latter usually but not always, played by Lazy Lester). On the positive side this was a more complex and often interesting sound than the preceding stark mix of rudimentary and predictable guitar (from Lightnin'), drums and harmonica. Set against this is the fact that inevitably Lightnin's new recordings lose an element of distinctiveness.

The first couple of tracks show the new backing approach at its best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9437cb34) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Stuart Jefferson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This final volume (of 4) from Ace Records reissues Slim's recordings from the years 1962-65. Up until the very early 60's Slim's sound (with the help of producer Jay Miller) remained virtually unchanged--a small combo and some ramshackle playing. This volume has Slim's small combos (including Whispering Smith or Lazy Lester on harp) augmented by a substitute guitar player, a bass player, and piano. But the most intrusive instrument is the addition of an organ on some cuts, which many feel destroyed Slim's original sound.

But if you're a fan (like me) of the swamp-blues sound, included in this set are a number of good songs and strong performances. But you'll also notice that some of the raw excitement is missing which was so evident in his earlier work. Many of the arrangements have a smoother sound to them, but Slim's rough vocals are still in good form. This final volume paints a good picture of how Slim sounded in the mid 60's.

For whatever reason, Lightnin' Slim has never garnered the acclaim that other post-war electric bluesmen have. These four volumes will hopefully shed some much needed light on this neglected artist. Slim, along with Lazy Lester, Silas Hogan, Lonesome Sundown, and Slim Harpo all recorded some fine blues with Jay Miller. But Harpo is the only one who had any relative fame. And of all the others listed, Lightnin' Slim was (is) most deserving of being recognized as one of the better blues artists of the period. The swamp-blues sound had its own definite sound and style. If you're not familiar with either the sound or the artists above, do yourself a favor and check them out.
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