Son House: “Death Letter”


Today is the birthday of the great blues man Son House (1902-1988), a cohort of Charley Patton and a major influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. Like almost all the blues artists of his generation, his career came in two phases separated by a lengthy retirement: his original period of activity as a secular musican (he’d been a preacher before that) was from roughly 1927 to 1942; the revival leg of his career went from 1964 until his death.

Here’s a clip from that second phase — so wild to watch and hear something from the television era so pure and elemental sounding and so fundamentally rural. Looks and sounds like history. I watch this and I think to myself we’re now on our fourth generation of plastic doll people.

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