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July 15, 2024

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Skip James
Studio Sessions - Rare and Unreleased (Vanguard Records)

By: Alex Steininger

One of the most influential Delta blues artists to record, Skip James quickly earned a reputation for his high, eerie voice that could make hair up on the back of your neck the minute he went into his falsetto. Unique guitar tuning backed his voice, and the combination was a deadly one. On Studio Sessions - Rare and Unreleased, Vanguard Records unleashes 19 songs that are all previously unreleased. Half based around the guitar, the other half around the piano, James' interpretations of the traditionals (which comprise this album) is nothing short of moving. Whether he's tickling the ivory or strumming that guitar, the bluesman still moves you, even on these recordings, which don't make the intensity of his own material. I'll give it a B+.
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