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“Texas Country Bluesman” Sam Hopkins was born on March 15th, 1912 in Centerville Texas.
The Famous One Hopkins’ musical career spanned 50 years, from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. Hopkins’ career began after meeting and partnering with blues legend Blind Lemon Jefferson. Though both of his brothers, John Henry and Joel were talented bluesmen, Hopkins became famous.
Musical Style Lightnin’ Hopkins’ style mixed his solo, soulful, bluesy voice with complex electric or acoustic riffs played by Hopkins himself. Hopkins was primarily a solo artist.
“The Master Storyteller” Hopkins was an exceptional lyricist, often improvising. He rarely recorded more than one take, no matter the record company’s prestige.
Record Label In1946, Aladdin Records was the first recording company to sign Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Lightnin’ Strikes! After being discovered by Aladdin Records, Hopkins was paired with the pianist Wilson “Thunder” Smith, and thus the name “Lightnin’” was born.
The Music “Katie Mae Blues” was Hopkins’ first original hit, recorded in the first session with Aladdin Records. After that, he settled in Houston, Texas and produced many additional hits, some of which are discussed in the following slides.
Katie Mae Blues http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=FPjd_oQby_c “Katie Mae Blues” showcases distinct blues vocal style. It is easy to hear Hopkins’ guitar mastery. In the background, Wilson “Thunder” Smith can be heard on the piano.
Leavin’ Blues http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=5Mpgaz87xo0 Here Lightnin’ demonstrates lyrical blues expertise, and superb talent on the electric guitar. I am personally an acoustic fan, but I love the soul in this song.
Mr. Charlie pts. 1 & 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=dNAtdq_ean4 This song is an example of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ distinct “storytelling” lyrical style. Much of the song is simply talking, and the guitar and percussion join in later on.
Baby Please Don’t Go http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=d49m6G9vOrI A video show casing Hopkins’ solo acoustic performing style
Mojo Hand http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=W4IS0TDcYEs One of Hopkins’ most famous songs, recorded in the 1960’s. The boogie style was very influential to blues.
Hopkins in Lights Lightnin’ Hopkins was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame two years before he died in 1982.
Influence Lightnin’Hopkins is said to be one of Houston’s most influential blues singers in history. Hopkins’ music was “colorblind and unifying.” Below is a link to a film about Lightnin’ Hopkin’s influence in music and the community. http://www.wherelightninstrikes.com/
Influence As said in the video, many famous artists like B. B. King and Jimi Hendrix were influenced by Lightnin’ Hopkins’ music.
Works Cited: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lightnin-hopkins-mn0 http://www.wherelightninstrikes.com/ http://www.mojohand.com/lightnin-hopkins- biography.htm
Works Cited (pictures): Lesblank.com http://www.allmusic.com/artist/lightnin- hopkins-mn0000825208 bebopwinorip.blogspot.com rubbercityreview.com bluesguitarunleashed.com