It’s not often you hear falsetto in a blues recording. This was one of the many standout traits that made Skip James a glowingly original artist of the Delta region. More importantly, his odd style of guitar tuning influenced some of rock’s legends, including Eric Clapton. “Cherry Ball Blues” is a lamentation about losing love, a theme repeated over and over in rock n’ roll and any genre of popular music.
“Cherry Ball Blues“ (play/download mp3)
There is no denying the authenticity of this track. Just listen to the scratchy recording and guitar strumming which is steeped in history and blues. Nehemiah Curtis (AKA”Skip”) James, was a true southern bluesman from the Delta. His father was initially a bootlegger who then transitioned to a preacher; an irony which is not lost in the lyrics and life of Skip James. Skip was virtually an unknown musician for thirty years, however highly regarded by his peers. Listen to this track, and recognize a great bluesman who was covered by the likes of: Cream, Beck, and Chris Thomas King.
Skip James – “Hard Luck Child“ (play/download mp3)
Skip James – “I’m So Glad” mp3
Skip James invented his own guitar picking method, and “I’m So Glad” was a perfect vehicle for his free form lightning licks.