Hell Hound On My Trail

Lightnin’ Hopkins

Plays: 399 •

 

L.C. Williams “The Lazy J.” (2:46)
Lightnin’ Hopkins - guitar
Donald Cooks - bass
(Recorded circa 1951 in Houston, Texas)

16 May 2012 L.C. Williams Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1951


Plays: 89 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Reminiscences of Blind Lemon” (2:16)
(Recorded in January 16, 1959 in Houston, Texas)

30 September 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins Blind Lemon Jefferson blues music 1959


Plays: 2069 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” (2:10)
(Recorded in January 16, 1959 in Houston, Texas)

30 September 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1959


Plays: 2839 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Goin’ Back To Florida” (3:13)
(Recorded in January 16, 1959 in Houston, Texas)

30 September 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1959


Plays: 40 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Bad Luck and Trouble” (3:49)
(Recorded in January 16, 1959 in Houston, Texas)

30 September 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1959


Plays: 129 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Penitentiary Blues” (2:57)
(Recorded in January 16, 1959 in Houston, Texas)

30 September 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1959


15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins Robert Crumb


Plays: 100 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins
"Worried Life Blues/You’re Not Going To Worry My Life Anymore" (2:52)
(Recorded in November, 1947 in Houston, Texas)

15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1947


Plays: 90 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Picture On The Wall” (2:52)
(Recorded in November, 1947 in Houston, Texas)

15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1947


Plays: 90 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Fast Mail Rambler” (2:51)
(Recorded August 15, 1947 in Los Angeles, California)

15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1947


Plays: 120 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Down Home Baby” (2:19)
(Recorded August 15, 1947 in Los Angeles, California)

15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1947


Plays: 90 •

 

Lightnin’ Hopkins “Thinkin’ And Worryin’” (2:56)
(Recorded August 15, 1947 in Los Angeles, California)

15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music 1947


Lightnin’ Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982)
Born Sam John Hopkins in  Centerville, Texas, Hopkins’ childhood was immersed in the  sounds of the blues and he developed a deeper appreciation at the age of  8 when he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo,  Texas. That day, Hopkins felt the blues was “in him” and went on to  learn from his older (somewhat distant) cousin, country blues singer  Alger “Texas” Alexander. Hopkins recorded later with another cousin,  Texas electric blues guitarist, Frankie Lee Sims, who was the  nephew of Alger “Texas” Alexander.
Hopkins began accompanying Blind Lemon  Jefferson on guitar in informal church gatherings. Jefferson supposedly  never let anyone play with him except for young Hopkins, who learned  much from and was influenced greatly by Blind Lemon Jefferson thanks to  these gatherings. In the mid 1930s, Hopkins was sent to Houston County  Prison Farm for an unknown offence. In the late 1930s Hopkins moved to  Houston with Alexander in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the  music scene there. By the early 1940s he was back in Centerville working  as a farm hand.
Hopkins took a second shot at Houston in  1946. While singing on Dowling St. in Houston’s Third Ward (which would  become his home base) he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los  Angeles based record label, Aladdin Records. She convinced Hopkins to  travel to L.A. where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo  recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin  Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names  and dubbed Hopkins “Lightnin’” and Wilson “Thunder”.
Hopkins  recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947 but soon grew homesick. He  returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label.  During the late 40s and 1950s Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas.  However, he recorded prolifically. Occasionally traveling to the  Mid-West and Eastern United States for recording sessions and concert  appearances. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000  songs during his career. He performed regularly at clubs in and around  Houston, particularly in Dowling St. where he had first been discovered.  He recorded his hits “T-Model Blues” and “Tim Moore’s Farm” at  SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston. By the mid to late 1950s his  prodigious output of quality recordings had gained him a following among  African Americans and blues music aficionados.
In 1959  Hopkins was contacted by folklorist Mack McCormick who hoped to bring  him to the attention of the broader musical audience which was caught up  in the folk revival. McCormack presented Hopkins to integrated  audiences first in Houston and then in California. Hopkins debuted at  Carnegie Hall on , 1960 appearing alongside Joan Baez and Pete Seeger  performing the spiritual Oh, Mary Don?t You Weep. In 1960, he signed to Tradition Records. Solid recordings followed including his masterpiece song “Mojo Hand” in 1960.
By  the early 1960s Lightnin’ Hopkins reputation as one of the most  compelling blues performers was cemented. He had finally earned the  success and recognition which were overdue. In 1968, Hopkins recorded  the album Free Form Patterns backed by the rhythm section of  psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. Through the 1960s and  into the 1970s Hopkins released one or sometimes two albums a year and  toured, playing at major folk festivals and at folk clubs and on college  campuses in the U.S. and internationally. He travelled widely in the  United States, and overcame his fear of flying to join the 1964 American  Folk Blues Festival; visit Germany and the Netherlands 13 years later; ;  and play a six-city tour of Japan in 1978.
Filmmaker Les Blank captured the Texas troubadour’s informal lifestyle most vividly in his acclaimed 1967 documentary, The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins.
Houston’s poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman.
Hopkins died of esophageal cancer in Houston in 1982.
In 2002, the town of Crockett, near Hopkins’ birthplace, erected a memorial statue in his honor in Lightnin’ Hopkins Park.

Lightnin’ Hopkins
(March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982)

Born Sam John Hopkins in Centerville, Texas, Hopkins’ childhood was immersed in the sounds of the blues and he developed a deeper appreciation at the age of 8 when he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas. That day, Hopkins felt the blues was “in him” and went on to learn from his older (somewhat distant) cousin, country blues singer Alger “Texas” Alexander. Hopkins recorded later with another cousin, Texas electric blues guitarist, Frankie Lee Sims, who was the nephew of Alger “Texas” Alexander.

Hopkins began accompanying Blind Lemon Jefferson on guitar in informal church gatherings. Jefferson supposedly never let anyone play with him except for young Hopkins, who learned much from and was influenced greatly by Blind Lemon Jefferson thanks to these gatherings. In the mid 1930s, Hopkins was sent to Houston County Prison Farm for an unknown offence. In the late 1930s Hopkins moved to Houston with Alexander in an unsuccessful attempt to break into the music scene there. By the early 1940s he was back in Centerville working as a farm hand.

Hopkins took a second shot at Houston in 1946. While singing on Dowling St. in Houston’s Third Ward (which would become his home base) he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los Angeles based record label, Aladdin Records. She convinced Hopkins to travel to L.A. where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names and dubbed Hopkins “Lightnin’” and Wilson “Thunder”.

Hopkins recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947 but soon grew homesick. He returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label. During the late 40s and 1950s Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas. However, he recorded prolifically. Occasionally traveling to the Mid-West and Eastern United States for recording sessions and concert appearances. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career. He performed regularly at clubs in and around Houston, particularly in Dowling St. where he had first been discovered. He recorded his hits “T-Model Blues” and “Tim Moore’s Farm” at SugarHill Recording Studios in Houston. By the mid to late 1950s his prodigious output of quality recordings had gained him a following among African Americans and blues music aficionados.

In 1959 Hopkins was contacted by folklorist Mack McCormick who hoped to bring him to the attention of the broader musical audience which was caught up in the folk revival. McCormack presented Hopkins to integrated audiences first in Houston and then in California. Hopkins debuted at Carnegie Hall on , 1960 appearing alongside Joan Baez and Pete Seeger performing the spiritual Oh, Mary Don?t You Weep. In 1960, he signed to Tradition Records. Solid recordings followed including his masterpiece song “Mojo Hand” in 1960.

By the early 1960s Lightnin’ Hopkins reputation as one of the most compelling blues performers was cemented. He had finally earned the success and recognition which were overdue. In 1968, Hopkins recorded the album Free Form Patterns backed by the rhythm section of psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s Hopkins released one or sometimes two albums a year and toured, playing at major folk festivals and at folk clubs and on college campuses in the U.S. and internationally. He travelled widely in the United States, and overcame his fear of flying to join the 1964 American Folk Blues Festival; visit Germany and the Netherlands 13 years later; ; and play a six-city tour of Japan in 1978.

Filmmaker Les Blank captured the Texas troubadour’s informal lifestyle most vividly in his acclaimed 1967 documentary, The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins.

Houston’s poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman.

Hopkins died of esophageal cancer in Houston in 1982.

In 2002, the town of Crockett, near Hopkins’ birthplace, erected a memorial statue in his honor in Lightnin’ Hopkins Park.

15 March 2011 Lightnin’ Hopkins blues music history