Skip James

Cherry Ball Blues


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Remastered tracks from 1931 - includes all 9 A sides along with their b sides. Liner notes by author Dick Porter and stunning artwork by Les Clark.

Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. He was born in Bentonia, Mississippi, and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He learned to play guitar from another bluesman from the area, Henry Stuckey. His guitar playing is noted for its dark, minor sound, played in an open D-minor tuning with an intricate fingerpicking technique. James first recorded for Paramount Records in 1931, but these recordings sold poorly, having been released during the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. After a long absence from the public eye, James was "rediscovered" in 1964 by three blues enthusiasts, helping further the blues and folk music revival of the 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, James appeared at several folk and blues festivals, gave concerts around the country and recorded several albums for various record labels.

For the next thirty years, James recorded nothing and drifted in and out of music. He was virtually unknown to listeners until about 1960. In 1964 blues enthusiasts John Fahey, Bill Barth, and Henry Vestine found him in a hospital in Tunica, Mississippi. According to Calt, the "rediscovery" of both James and of Son House at virtually the same moment was the start of the blues revival in the US. In July 1964 James, along with other rediscovered performers, appeared at the Newport Folk Festival. Several photographs by blues promoter Dick Waterman captured this performance, James's first in over 30 years. Throughout the remainder of the decade, he recorded for Takoma Records, Melodeon Records, and Vanguard Records and played various engagements, until his death in 1969.

    Release Date: 28 Apr 16 Cat No: DEVILP003