A portrait of the great Texas bluesman, 'Lightnin' Hopkins. The film includes interviews and a performance by Hopkins.
Originally released as The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins, Smithsonian/Folkways' Lightnin' Hopkins was recorded in 1959. Upon its initial release, it was a pivotal part of the blues revival and helped re-spark interest in Hopkins….
When you hear someone say "Texas Blues Guitar," you may immediately think of Steve Ray and Jimmie Vaughn or maybe Freddie King. The invisible presence, buried deep in everyone of their guitar riffs, is the true king of Texas blues, Lightnin' Hopkins. Lightnin', who knew Blind Lemon Jefferson as a child, is Jimmie Vaughn's favorite guitarist. Offered here are all the basics, many of the secrets and tricks of Lightnin's deeply accomplished, deceptively simple acoustic Texas boogie guitar style. This lesson features rare video footage from the 1950's and 1960's of Lightnin' playing five tunes. Lightnin' plays the tune and then Ernie analyzes it lick by lick. This video presents a wonderful opportunity to go to the source of Texas blues and learn from the master who inspired generations of guitar heroes. Tab & notation booklet included.
For the 1963 album Goin' Away, Lightnin' Hopkins was backed by a spare rhythm section – bassist Leonard Gaskin and drummer Herb Lovelle – who managed to follow his ramshackle, instinctual sense of rhythm quite dexterously, giving Hopkins' skeletal guitar playing some muscle. Still, the spotlight remains Hopkins, who is in fine form here. There are no real classics here, but everything is solid, particularly "Stranger Here" and "You Better Stop Her," making it worth investigation by serious fans of Hopkins' classic material.
Lightnin' Hopkins' plaintive, soft-rolling blues style is exemplified on "Let's Go Sit on the Lawn," "Just a Wristwatch on My Arm," "I'm a Crawling Black Snake," Willie Dixon's "My Babe," and others. Accompanied only by himself on guitar (and oh what a guitar he plays), Leonard Gaskin (bass), and Herb Lovelle (drums), Hopkins' seductive, intricate guitar picks and strums will dance around in your head long after this CD has played. His voice, which sounds like it's aged in Camels and Jim Beam, conveys his heartfelt sagas to the fullest. A prolific songwriter, Hopkins wrote every song except the Dixon tune.