Son House – Forever On My Mind (2022) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Son House – Forever On My Mind (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 43:06 minutes | 808 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Easy Eye Sound

As popular as it was during its heyday, the early acoustic Delta blues quickly became old hat once some of its adherents moved north and added drums, bass, and electricity. For players from that era who survived, there was an improbable second act. As part of folk music’s rediscovery in the early 1960s, the early Delta bluesmen became heroes to white college students. Much to their amazement, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, and Son House suddenly had careers again, complete with tours, new recording dates and actual money in the bank. By the mid-’60s House was living in Rochester, New York, where he worked in a foundry, on the railroad, and as a chef. Rediscovered by a trio of blues enthusiasts led by Dick Waterman (who would become his manager), House began to play college dates across the country at places like Wabash College where on November 23, 1964, Waterman recorded the then 62-year-old bluesman on quarter-inch magnetic tape. It’s this recording that’s now been restored by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville that makes up Forever on My Mind. Close-miked using a single microphone, the original sound of Waterman’s recording has been enhanced by adding depth and bringing forward details such as House’s fingers moving on and off the strings. Raw is the most common adjective used to describe delta blues. It was simple and stark music with nowhere to hide—a solo art entirely dependent on a player’s skill with an acoustic guitar and a stylized way of singing. Like all Delta blues players, House borrowed from other players, refashioning common tunes to his own liking. Several “originals” like “Preachin’ Blues,” “Empire State Express” and one of his best-known numbers, “Death Letter” (which would become the heart of both his Columbia record and his comeback concert programs), are heard here in unusually tentative versions. Waterman has said that House had to basically relearn his former repertoire by jamming with Canned Heat guitarist Alan Wilson. Always his most striking gift, his powerful voice is heard here regaining confidence, and not nearly the roar it would soon become again. As a twist, House played a National resonator steel-bodied guitar whose distinctive metallic sonority was unmistakable. Its quavering, uncertain tones are beautifully captured while also showing how hard House was struggling to remaster the instrument. Forever on my Mind displays the one-man-and-his-guitar essence of the Delta blues; it’s a fascinating window into a legend regaining his strut. – Robert Baird

1-1. Son House – Forever On My Mind (05:36)
1-2. Son House – Preachin’ Blues (05:16)
1-3. Son House – Empire State Express (04:30)
1-4. Son House – Death Letter (05:51)
1-5. Son House – The Way Mother Did (03:40)
1-6. Son House – Louise McGhee (06:44)
1-7. Son House – Pony Blues (04:47)
1-8. Son House – Levee Camp Moan (06:38)



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