By the time Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon stepped into Chicago’s Sound Studio to cut these up-to-now unreleased sides for Delmark in 1974, “the Tennessee Blues Poet” and his harmonica-playin’ partner had been making music together for well over 40 years. Listen to the two first-generation country bluesmen cutting it up here as they prepare to launch into a playfully intimate version of Estes’s 1929 tune “Brownsville Blues” and it’s like an old married couple joined at the hip as they “take that right hand road to Brownsville” one more time. The clear crying, singing blues of Estes’s ‘30s and ‘40s recordings has slipped away into a world-weary, mournful wailing murmur that’s no less emotionally powerful. Nevertheless, the real magic is in the almost telepathic interplay between weeping guitar and melancholy harmonica (and occasional fun-lovin’ kazoo on a couple of tracks) which charges standards like “T Model Ford” (also known as “Poor Man’s Friend”) and “Mary Come on Home” with such a vibrant energy.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.
// Sound Affects
"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.READ the article