Tommy Johnson “Cool Drink Of Water Blues” (3:37)
“Papa Charlie” McCoy - accompanying guitar
(Recorded February 3, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee)
“Cool Drink of Water Blues” is a masterpiece of 1920’s Delta blues, showcasing Tommy Johnson’s eerie falsetto and masterfully manipulated vocal dynamics that established him as the premier Delta blues vocalist of his day. His effortless guitar playing, rhythmic and solid, was secondary to his exceptional singing.
Charles “Papa Charlie” McCoy (one of the major blues accompanists of his time) is backing Tommy Johnson on guitar. This was both Tommy Johnson’s and “Papa Charlie” McCoy’s first recorded song, recorded February 3, 1928 at Memphis Auditorium, in Memphis, Tennessee in an all-star session that saw “Papa Charlie” McCoy backing Tommy Johnson, Ishmon Bracey and Rosie Mae Moore over a two-day period.
“Cool Drink of Water Blues” was famously covered by Howlin’ Wolf as “I Asked For Water (She Brought Me Gasoline)” in 1956 and brilliantly by The Gun Club as “Cool Drink of Water" on their 1981 debut album "Fire of Love"