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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Monday, May 12, 2014

Delmark artist: Sleepy John Estes with Hammie Nixon - Live In Japan - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Live In Japan, from Sleepy John Estes with Hammie Nixon. If you like primitive blues/country blues, this is tough to beat. The release is comprised of music previously released in Japan only in the late 70's on LP just shortly before Estes death on 1978. The releases, earlier titled Blues Live! Sleepy & Hammie Meet Japanese People and Blues Is A-Live. This is an extensive 21 track set and I won't even attempt to describe it track by track but will attempt to give you a flavor. The release opens with Corrina Corrina, with Estes singing lead and playing guitar and Nixon on vocal and kazoo. Broke and Hungry, an original track is a perfect for illustrating the gripping qualities of Estes unique vocal style. Always a crowd favorite, I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You, finds the duo trading lead vocals, again with Estes on guitar and Nixon on kazoo. This is of course one of many "fun" songs on the release and showing the life in these performances. Stop That Thing has always been on of my personal favorites by Estes and Nixon does a real nice job on harp as well. A track that has been played by a number of contemporary players is Divin' Duck Blues. Here as Estes wrote it, accompanying himself on guitar and Nixon on harp, it certainly has a personality of it's own. Nixon takes a larger role in When Your Mother Is Gone, a traditional track showing his absolute strength as a vocalist. A super blues track, Rats In My Kitchen, again relies heavily on the super vocals of Estes. Nixon has a harp style that is well matched to Estes' voice and that is very apparent on this track. Another deeper blues track, Potato Diggin' Man falls back to tghe strength of Nixon on vocals and harp. Very nice. The last 4 tracks include backing by the Japanese band, Yu Ka Dan. Sleepy John's Twist has almost a rock blues feel but still remaining with the primitive style. It's a good chance to see Sleepy John with a slightly different but still true style. Love Grows In Your Heart is more of a gospel oriented ballad along the lines of Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning.  Another Estes original, Brownsville Blues, is gritty and wailing. Estes definitely had his own sound, never to be duplicated. This is a very cool track again with all of the bite of Estes at his best. One of my favorite tracks on the release, Jesus Is On The Mainline, features Nixon on lead with Estes on chorus and harmony. This is a super wrap for a very cool release. Wether you have all of Sleepy John's stuff, or you are just looking for an intro, this is a very cool set which captures Estes in a great live setting.

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