One thing certain about Junior Kimbrough when you look him up is that the guy had the blues. He honestly looks in pain in most of his photographs. He also seemed to boast a healthy smoking habit. I don’t know much about the Delta Blues except that I should know at least a little something about them. This early form of blues functioned as a shared vehicle of expression in a specific region of the US (The Mississippi Delta) often defined by severe poverty and inequality. The rich and somewhat mythical history surrounding it is enough to draw me in, even before the sound of it.  The recordings vary in quality and are startlingly alive when I listen. I can almost hear mosquitoes swarming and a jug of booze being set down. Something pure and potent burns in this music. It is miles away from a produced or manufactured sound. It’s like the music was made just to get through the day. Within the genre, there are borrowed licks and lyrics, even names. How a song comes across relies on feeling. Style. A signature strum pattern. Kimbrough is known for a low bass thumbed drone and some rhythmic tricks in his mid-range melodies. I let Columbus Metropolitan Library’s copy of The Rough Guide to Delta Blues educate me a little. After my first listen through, I taped over the tabs of an old mix tape and committed the album to my cassette collection. It’s case-less and marked DELTA BLUES in sloppy Sharpie. Junior Kimbrough’s Meet Meet Me in The City is the stand out track on it for me. In this version of the song, it almost sounds as if the song is being written as it is recorded. It is free; rambling along, mumbling sort of until some surer parts kind of rise up. The song starts with no singing and suggests to me the urge to just play guitar. You let that guitar line release your private feelings and maybe it will walk you to some words. It thickens up as the song goes on but then ends as if it’s not finished, just over for now. Please don’t leave me right now… right now.. right now….

1 Comment

Filed under SONG OF THE WEEK!

One response to “JUNIOR’S SONG OF THE WEEK!

  1. Mikeal

    Maybe you should read The Land Where the Blues Began by Alan Lomax if you want to continue learning about Delta Blues stuff.

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