Previously Unreleased Recordings On Vinyl LP!
Restored To Remarkable Clarity by Producer Dan Auerbach!
Includes The Never-Before-Recorded Title Track!
A new Son House album of previously unreleased recordings from the legendary "Father Of The Delta Blues" features the never before recorded track, "Forever On My Mind". The album comes from noted blues manager and historian Dick Waterman's archives which were the first upon Son House's 1964 re-discovery. Restored to remarkable clarity by producer Dan Auerbach for Easy Eye Sound, these recordings represent the earliest recordings of House upon his return to the limelight after 20+ years away.
From Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone:
"The recordings come from a Nov. 23, 1964 performance Son House gave at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana; five months later, the blues legend cut his seminal 1965 Columbia Records album, The Legendary Son House: Father of Folk Blues, which introduced him to a new, wider audience. Forever on My Mind features new versions of seven songs Son House recorded during his time with Columbia - including the new LP's first offering, a fresh rendition of 'Preachin' Blues' - but the eighth song, the title track, was never officially recorded, and only existed as a part of Son House's live sets (there's some footage of him playing it at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival).
"Auerbach tells Rolling Stone he grew up devouring Son House's Columbia recordings and was stunned to hear the 1964 Wabash tape, which had long been in the possession of House's manager, Dick Waterman. 'When I heard those Son House recordings, it was really emotional, honestly,' Auerbach says. 'Because I had such a deep connection to the songs, and to hear those old songs in a brand new light, to hear him singing so intimately, in such good form, sober, and the quality of the recording was so immaculate - I was just really overjoyed.'
"Waterman was one of three blues obsessives who tracked down Son House in 1964 in Rochester, New York, and helped the artist relaunch his career (new interest in the musician had been sparked after the reissue of 78s Son House had made for Paramount Records in 1930 and field recordings made by Alan Lomax in 1941 and 1942). Waterman helped Son House return to the stage for the first time in decades, securing him spots at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, as well as a handful of college campuses. Part of a Nov. 21, 1964 show at Oberlin College was recorded (and a lone track appeared on the 1980 release Rare Blue), but the Wabash College show two days later was recorded in full.
"'Wabash did the taping, and then they later gave me the reel-to-reel tape,' Waterman said in a statement. 'The show was held in kind of an assembly hall. There were a few dozen [in the audience] - there may have been up to 50 people, something like that. They were quiet and polite during the performance... There were no barriers, there were no filters between him and the audience. He was just giving them the plain, unvarnished Delta material, as he knew it and as he sang it.'
"While that reel-to-reel spent the next six decades sitting on a shelf with little care or attention, it was still in decent shape when Auerbach and Easy Eye got ahold of it. The recordings were successfully transferred and Auerbach says only a bit of editing was done to clean up some stray noise. 'It was just guitar and vocals,' he says. 'I didn't want anything to distract.'
"The Forever On My Mind recordings, Auerbach adds, are revelatory in a unique way, capturing the way Son House's material was always living, always changing. 'Every time he performs a song, it's a little bit different. He lives in the moment. And I think that that comes through loud and clear - how emotionally connected he sounds to the music that he's making... The older think he got, the more powerful he got. He took his time, he stretched, he put everything he had into his songs. You can tell there was no time limit [with these recordings]. There used to be time limits [on records] because he only had so much time to record in the 40s. But when he was making these recordings, you could tell he closed his eyes and he just let it all hang out.'"
Though Auerbach has cleaned up the audio, these tracks are still thrillingly spare, just House's voice and guitar as he makes his way through eight classic songs, often in versions considerably longer than would have fit on a 78 in 1931. Much of the time, he sounds as if he's barely aware that anyone is listening; the tapes lack a sense of theatricality, as if House simply strolled into the room, saw a guitar, and decided to play a few tunes. The intimacy of the recordings is electrifying, and if his vocals lack a bit of the power he summoned as a younger man, his phrasing and sense of storytelling is all there, and audible without the noise common to the few surviving copies of his Paramount recordings... The unforced naturalism of Dick Waterman's tapes demonstrates why Son House had one of the strongest post-rediscovery bodies of work during the era of the blues revival. This is the kind of music only a tiny handful of people are ever fortunate enough to witness, and Forever on My Mind allows us to share that rare privilege.
The music here is without equal as Son House peels off devastating classics like 'Death Letter' and 'Levee Camp Moan' with a beguiling ease and stormy spirit.
- Vinyl LP
- Previously unreleased recordings
- From blues manager & historian Dick Waterman's archives
- Never officially recorded title track "Forever On My Mind"
- Never-heard recordings of "Death Letter" & "Preachin' Blues"
- Recorded at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN on November 23, 1964
- Produced by Dan Auerbach
- Audio Restoration & Mastering by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound
- Single pocket jacket
- Made in France
- Forever On My Mind
- Preachin' Blues
- Empire State Express
- Death Letter
- The Way Mother Did
- Louise McGhee
- Pony Blues
- Levee Camp Moan