Jessie Mae Hemphill: Get Right Blues (High Water Recording, 2003) Old school blues (like old school hillbilly country) is considered simple and unsophisticated. And I agree in that this is straight ahead, no bullshit/no marketing music. But in terms of emotional impact great blues can really pack a wallop and such is the case with Jessie Mae Hemphill. So in addition to recommending an old time blues record in that classic Howlin’ Wolf style (slighlty less raucous) this an old time blues record by a woman.
There’s a whole lotta stylish blues guitar playing here — finger picking, slide, and vamping. And that’s before she sings the blues. There’s a variety of tunes and settings on this record and it’s all working overtime. Especially you beardy hipsters.
Right now I’m listening to the sixth track Lord, Help the Poor and Needy and it’s as relevant today as whenever she wrote it.