Rory Block – Hard Luck Child: A Tribute To Skip James (2014)

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For a good while, now, one of the most faithful practitioners of Delta Blues has been a white woman from New Jersey. Blues troubadour Rory Block, whose first record goes all the way back to 1975, has never been more full of youthful vitality when she delivered with one of the finest-ever tributes to Robert Johnson (The Lady and Mr. Johnson (2006). Following that, she launched her celebrated Mentor Series, each album earnest, informed salutes to other Blues giants. They were earnest and informed for a very good reason: as a youth, Block spent significant enough time with all of these members of Blues royalty — Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Rev. Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt — and they influenced her own path in her musical career.

The fifth album in her Mentor Series celebrates the music of the man who Block states is “central to the incredibly powerful style we called Country Blues.” Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James, like House and Bukka White, recorded some sides in the early 30’s that became very influential and led to his rediscovery in the 60’s. James recorded some two dozen songs for Paramount in 1931, and this pool of haunting, unequivocal and profound blues provided the material for most of Block’s new release Hard Luck Child, A Tribute To Skip JamesHard Luck Child, A Tribute To Skip James illuminates the lineage back to the Mississippi Delta just as her prior five tribute albums did.

Visit Rory Block’s website for more info.

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