The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins

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The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins
The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins.jpeg
Studio album by Lightnin' Hopkins
Released 1965
Recorded Houston, Texas
Genre Blues
Label Verve Folkways
Producer Samuel B. Charters
Lightnin' Hopkins chronology
My Life in the Blues
(1965)My Life in the Blues1965
The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins
Lightnin' Hopkins
(1966)Lightnin' Hopkins1966
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars link

The Roots of Lightnin' Hopkins is the twentieth studio album by the Texan blues guitarist and singer Lightnin' Hopkins. It had originally been released in 1959 on the Folkways label (FS 3822) under the title of "Lightnin' Hopkins".

The album was recorded by Samuel B. Charters on January 16, 1959 at 2803 Hadley Street, Houston, Texas. At the time Lightnin' had almost stopped playing and was doing odd jobs. Charters learned about Lightnin's whereabouts from a cousin in New Orleans and was told to look for him in Houston. In Houston all he could find was Lightnin's guitar, in a pawn shop on Dowling Street. Sam enquired of many people Lightnin's whereabouts. All were carefully vague but word was passing. The next morning a car pulled up beside Charters' at a red light and a thin man in dark glasses said, "You looking for me?" Lightnin' had found him.

After convincing Lightnin' that he was serious about recording him, Charters got him a guitar and a bottle of gin, and they went back to Lightnin's room and recorded the album there, with Charters holding the microphone in his hand; moving it up to Lightnin's head when he was singing and down to the guitar when he was playing a solo. The album was first released at around the time the book The Country Blues came out and was an instant success and gave Lightnin's career a well-deserved new lease on life. Lightnin' went on to record many more songs in the '60s and '70s.

The album was released in the UK by Verve Folkways as VLP 5003 (mono) and SVLP 5003 (stereo) and re-released in 1972 by Transatlantic Records (XTRA 1127). In 1990 it was re-released on CD under the title Lightnin' Hopkins by Smithsonian/Folkways (SF 40019), and distributed by Rounder Records. The CD was produced by Matt Walters, remastered by Doug Sax and Alan Yoshida at The Mastering Lab Hollywood CA, and printed in Canada. As cover design the original Folkways LP's artwork by Ronald Clyne with a photograph taken by Samuel B. Charters was used. Charters also wrote the sleeve notes for the CD at the Mansfield Centre, Conn. 1990.

Track listing[edit]

Side one

  1. "Penitentiary Blues"
  2. "Bad Luck and Trouble"
  3. "Come Go Home with Me"
  4. "Trouble Stay 'Way from My Door"
  5. "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean"

Side two

  1. "Goin' Back to Florida"
  2. "Reminiscences of Blind Lemon"
  3. "Fan It"
  4. "Tell Me, Baby"
  5. "She's Mine"