Skip James “Live” Vol 1 (Boston 1964 & Philadelphia 1966)
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“Live” Vol. 1 – Boston 1964 & Philadelphia 1966
” The years 1964-1967 were the sum total of the second coming of Skip James. He had blazed out of the south for a brief instant in 1931, and had even left a few artefacts to prove that it wasn’t all a dream – and then he returned, a talent like a periodic comet of blazing intensity. I saw him play in Boston – it must have been him, and so it must have been around November, 1964.At that time, there were coffee houses offering all manner of unusual musicians. Guitar Nubbit would be in town – so, let’s go see him. Jim Kweskin And His Jug Band, The Charles River Valley Boys, Gary Davis doing a show on Boston Common – why, let’s take the little children, they’ll enjoy Pete Seeger. “Where do you get your material from,” I asked the Holy Modal Rounders. Well, get a copy of the Folkways Anthology and you’ll get a good start. These are the ways a person can get bent around by the blues. But you have to remember, they were magical times. If you didn’t see Mississippi John Hurt at one place, say Newport one year, why you could just catch him again later at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. And if you liked their stuff, you could just get the studio LP’s that were being released.
By the 1970’s, people began to realize that we had witnessed something special. You could still see Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry , maybe catch Roosevelt Sykes here or there, have a few drinks with Robert Pete Williams after a set but time was taking its toll.I was performing Sacred Harp music in Toronto when one of the others asked if I’d like a tape of Skip James that he had. Skip had haunted me for years – but it was taking me a couple of years practice to learn any of songs. So, I blithely agreed. I had it laying around for ten years or so be before I sent it to Document Records to see if anyone else would like to hear it. Considering how haphazard all this is, I would have thought that other “live” tapes of Skip James would have appeared since, but at the time of writing this seems to have been the only one. I’ve found that my own tapes have been deteriorating, so kindred souls might well consider making the music available to those whose circumstances didn’t make it quite so easy to see these remarkable artists in person. I know there are other tapes out there somewhere, so now it’s time to DO THE RIGHT THING. The bottom line to all this is that these live tapes are as elusive as the original 78’s, and that a concerted effort must be made to make sure they don’t disappear or get lost inadvertently. Share the music, share the memories, and help preserve the blues tradition.” Abridged from the sleeve notes by Roger Misiewicz . Copyright 1992 & 2007 Document Records.
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