In 1959 for Smithsonian Folkways Lightnin’ Hopkins recorded, what we believe to be, his greatest album ever. Mack McCormick “rediscovered” Hopkins and introduced him to a broader audience in the early 1960′s. This self-titled masterpiece was released in 1962 during a time when Lightnin’ was finally well respected in the music industry.

Through the 1930′s and 1940′s he struggled to become a big name in the mainstream music scene. By the 1950′s he had a large fan base of blacks but did not play integrated shows until the 1960′s, when this album was released.

When I listen to this recording again many years later, I still have the same sense of excitement I felt that day when I sat in his shadowy room with the bottle of gin on the floor, and the sounds of other people in the house drifting through the door. Through the blues revival and on into the 1970’s he went on to record many more albums, including some sessions we did together, but this one, still, for me, his most exciting musical statement. Often during those years I was asked if there was some way to describe the country blues, and the easiest way I could think of was to play this album. Whenever I think of Linghtning and his music it is this sound and these blues that come back to me.

–Sam Charters

Featured track: Bad Luck and Trouble

Get the album:

Lightnin’ Hopkins – Lightnin’ Hopkins (