When it comes to blues guitarists, there aren't many who have been as influential as Lightnin' Hopkins. His ragged, unconventional style of guitar playing has inspired countless musicians over the years. Anyone who plays guitar has stolen licks from him at one time or another. Hopkins was also a master storyteller. Blues Hoot shows off these abilities as it captures Hopkins in 1961 collaborating with fellow blues legends, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.

Recorded live in Hollywood at the Ash Grove, the sound quality on the 24K gold CD is stunning. It sounds like it was recorded yesterday. Tape hiss is nonexistent, and the dynamic range will make you sit up and take notice. The best tracks are the solo Hopkins tunes and the Terry & McGhee instrumental, "Blowin' the Fuses." Channel separation on the solo Hopkins material is superb--vocals on the left, guitar on the right.

Blues Hoot includes four bonus tracks, plus all the original liner notes. This isn't the definitive Lightnin' Hopkins CD, but it's an entertaining disc.

© 1997 Steve Marshall