|By some Skip James is considered to be a musical genius. Skip mastered
both piano and guitar early in life and recorded 17 selections for Paramount
in 1931. All of his surviving work from this period displays a superlative
and unique style on both instruments. Skip's falsetto singing set against
his rythmic and erratic instrumentals can only be called haunting. The
Depression was responsible for lack of sales and Skip drifted back into
obscurity until blues collector, John Fahey, found him in 1964 and brought
him to the Newport Folk Festival.
--It is from King Biscuit Time Blues Page
||[Skip James] was a solitary, secretive person who never had his
own family, regarded women with suspicious contempt, and was seemingly
wary of the entire human race, several members of which he had coolly eliminated
in shoot-outs. He was mistrustful of merriment: once he passed a
caravan of cars departing from a wedding. When he heard the honking, he
said, with no attempt at humor: "Bet you won't hear that when they get
divorced." His bleak outlook made blues songs a natural outlet for
--It is from an interview done by the Skip James's
biographer Stephen Calt at Xoom.com.
There is a very brief review of Calt's biography at the Quarterly Black Review.
|Blues has always had a reputation as the music that expresses the
darker side of the soul: sad music, downer music, etc. Anyone who actually
listens to much blues soon realizes that the music runs the entire
spectrum of feeling. And an awful lot of it [especially the most popular
blues] is "up" music: jump blues, fun blues, party blues, etc. But, in
most of the compositions of Skip James, the blues actually is what it's
reputed to be. He couldn't be farther from jump blues; he couldn't do party
music if he tried.
Biographies & introductions:
A biography with a photo at AMERICAN MUSIC ARCHIVES.
A biography at the Blue Flame Cafe.
A fact sheet with commentary at BluesNet Artists.
An introduction to his life and music at the site by Keity Purtell.
A site called "The Blue World of Skip James" contains instructions to Skip James and his music.
at "The Blue World of Skip James."
|Little Cow and Calf is Gonna Die Blues||the song|
|22-20 Blues||the song|
|If you Haven't Got any Hay Get on Down the Road||the song|
|Devil Got My Woman||the song|
|Hard Time Killing Floor Blues||the song|
|Drunken Spree||the song|
Sleepy John Estes