Roots of Rock: Lightnin' Hopkins

Here's another significant addition to our Roots of Rock series; the great Country Blues Guitarist and Singer: LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS. (Sam John "Lightnin'" Hopkins ) As a boy he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a Church Picnic down in Buffalo, Texas, and said he felt the Blues In Him.

Lightnin' was known for a peculiar style of picking the guitar caused by years of playing with out a backup band; his distinctive finger style technique often included playing, in effect, bass, rhythm, lead, and percussion at the same time. Originally from Centerville, Texas, he pretty much stayed in Houston's 3rd Ward (Near where the black radio station that I programmed was) Lightnin' spent some time on a prison farm in the 30's, but he didn't want to talk about it and his crime was a mystery. As the Folk Music Craze hit around 1960, he was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City where he performed with Pete Seegar and Joan Baez introducing him to a new audience.

He was incredibly prolific and recorded almost a thousand songs in his career, no one else comes close; and he influenced the Brit Bands including The Rolling Stones, who among others covered his song: "Baby Please Don't Go," which he does solo in this clip. Lightin' Hopkins died of esophageal cancer in 1982 at age 69. His obit in the NY Times said that he was "The "Greatest single influence on rock guitar players." Here he is with great picture and sound doing his song: "Baby Please Don't Go." @therealdonrocks

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