Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Lemon Jefferson Vol. 2 (1927)

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of the most important and influential bluesmen ever; you can trace a direct stylistic line from him to electric guitar pioneer T-Bone Walker to B.B. King. That said, he returned to the same patterns again and again, especially later in his career, so a little of him goes a long way. This volume contains his most essential work. Though he had a big, pliable voice, it was his improvisational guitar work that so turned blues upside down; due mainly to his stylish single-string work, he was the genre's first star instrumentalist as well as the first country blues star. He's also responsible for some blues standards; Carl Perkins adapted his "Match Box Blues" to create a rockabilly classic that the Beatles picked up on, while Bob Dylan ended his debut album with "See That My Grave Is Kept Clean." And "That Black Snake Moan" is an unbeatable piece of blues eroticism, while the gospel "He Arose from the Dead" and "Hot Dogs" reveal a masterful maverick.