Lightnin' came from the roots of blues music and is said to be one of the last Blues Legends
At very young age(8), Hopkins had his first encounter with Blind Lemmon Jefferson who was performing at a weekend picnic in Buffalo, TX. Little Sam Hopkins with his guitar quickly jumped into playing behind him. Jefferson barked, "Boy, you got to play it right", but softened his tone when he noticed Hopkins age. Later as an adolescent, Lightnin' accompanied Lemmon Jefferson and served as his eyes when they travelled and performed all around the region.
Sam "Lightnin" Hopkins was born in 1912 in the small town of Centerville, TX, a cotton-farming community. His first music influences were his two elder brothers John Henry and Joel who were taught by their father Abe.
Throughout the 1920's, 30's and 40's Lightnin' Hopkins worked as a farmer and played music on weekends
Hopkins recording career was very prolific, recording many country blues and played urban blues as well. He played both acoustic and electric guitar, sometimes on solo dates, he accompanied himself on piano or organ, he wore taps on his shoes and added the classic foot-stomping "percussion" . Part of the reason why Lightnin' did so much solo performing and recording was because he was a inmensely personal player. He was no respecter of the formalized twelve-bar format, instead, his lines grew out depending on how he sung his phrases ending up with a very charasteristic guitar phrase. Lightnin' never did things the same way twice.
Lighnin' Hopkins influenced a wide variety of artists from John Lee Hooker and Buddy Guy to Bob Dylan. He is certainly one of the great authentic blues singer and said to be one of the last BLUES LEGENDS.
"So, with his assistance and without further ado, I'd like to turn you over to Mr. Sam Lightnin' Hopkins, who will take care of the rest." - Ed Michel, Big Island, Hawaii Oct.3 1992
Check out one of his great tunes at The Stage.
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