Wired For Sound

Sunday, July 21, 2013

J.D. Edwards on Imperial 5245

J.D. Edwards - Hobo / Cryin' (Imperial 5245)

Buried deep in the Lightnin' Hopkins discography is this almost unknown item. Probably recorded at ACA in Houston on May 27, 1953, Lightnin' wrote "Hobo," and supplies the lead guitar on both sides. Musically, this is a mess. Though Lightnin's 1953-54 group sessions were usually pretty tight rhythmically, the band here sounds like they've never played together, and the result is sloppy and amateurish. Lightnin' is playing in a different key than the rest of the group.

Two things make this record interesting, though. One is the raw, distorted tone Lightnin' gets out of his amp. This is undoubtedly the same amp he was using for his TNT session, which was recorded around the same time. Second is the other guitar. It's a steel guitar, and one immediately thinks of Hop Wilson. Discographies don't mention him, though Pete Welding recognized as early as 1968 (in his liner notes to Rural Blues Vol. 2) that it could be Wilson. I think it's definitely him.

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