Newport Folk Festival: Best Of The Blues 1959-68 Various Artists (Newport Folk Festival)


Catalogue Id:
3VCD 193

The Newport Festival was a buzz with blasts from the past in the early-60s. In his book "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" Eric Von Schmidt recalled his memories of the festival: "I was listening to Mississippi John Hurt sing Spike Driver Blues. It was unreal, John Hurt was dead. Had to be. All the guys on that Harry Smith Anthology were dead. But there was no denying that the man singing so sweet and playing so beautifully was the John Hurt. He had a face - and what a face. He had a hat that he wore like a halo."

John Hurt was tracked down in Avalon, Mississippi-.-Bukka White in Aberdeen, Mississippi-.-Skip James was found in Mississippi's Tunica Hospital while Son House was residing in Rochester, New York. Dick Waterman recalled the scene when Skip James took to the stage in his book "Baby Let Me Follow You Down": "Skip sat down, and put his guitar on his leg. He set himself down, doing a little finger manipulation with his left hand, then he set his fingers by the sound hole. Sighed and hit the first note of I'd Rather Be the Devil Than Be That Woman's Man. He took that first note up in falsetto all the way, and the hairs on the neck went up, and all up and down my arms, the hairs just went right up. It's such an eerie note. It's almost a wail. It's a cry. There was an audible gasp from the audience."

Other bluesmen weren't so much rediscovered as simply exposed. Mance Lipscomb was a gifted songster and slide guitarist who had never recorded, but who'd also never stopped playing at local functions around Navasota, Texas. Lightin' Hopkins, another Texan had been recording for years when he arrived at Newport. And successful urban bluesmen like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker, faced with a diminishing market for blues in the black market, saw the festival as a way to attract a whole new audience.

Performers were paid just $50 to appear at Newport, but careers were made on this main stage. Dick Waterman who became a booking agent and business advisor to many of the rediscovered bluesmen recalled: "It's important to remember that the record companies were well represented at the festival. You only had about fifteen minutes to play, but if you performed really well in those few minutes, as you turned from the microphone and left the stage, you just might be greeted by John Hammond of Columbia, or Maynard Solomon of Vanguard, or Jac Holzman of Elektra. There were no lawyers or middlemen involved. The guy who made the decision at the record company was there to make a deal."

Newport provided a profoundly moving look at some of the artists who first taught the world the meaning of the blues. Neither the blues nor popular music would ever again be quite the same.

By John Milward


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Sliding Delta - Mississippi John Hurt

  • 02 Preview Candy Man - Mississippi John Hurt

  • 03 Preview Coffee Blues - Mississippi John Hurt

  • 04 Preview Stagolee - Mississippi John Hurt

  • 05 Preview Here Am I, Oh Lord, Send Me - Mississippi John Hurt

  • 06 Preview Make Me A Pallet On The Floor - Mississippi John Hurt

  • 07 Preview Devil Got My Woman - Skip James

  • 08 Preview Hard Time Killing Floor Blues - Skip James

  • 09 Preview Preachin' Blues - Son House

  • 10 Preview Death Letter - Son House

  • 11 Preview Empire State Express - Son House

  • 12 Preview Son Blues - Son House

  • 13 Preview Aberdeen Mississippi Blues - Bukka White

  • 14 Preview Louise Louise - Mississippi Fred McDowell

  • 15 Preview If The River Was Whiskey (Diving Duck Blues) - Mississippi Fred McDowell

  • 16 Preview Walkin' Blues - Muddy Waters

  • 17 Preview I Can't Be Satisfied - Muddy Waters

Side 2

  • 01 Preview Levee Camp Blues - Robert Pete Williams

  • 02 Preview Midnight Boogie - Robert Pete Williams

  • 03 Preview On My Way From Texas - Robert Pete Williams

  • 04 Preview Freddie - Mance Lipscomb

  • 05 Preview So Different Blues - Mance Lipscomb

  • 06 Preview God Moves On The Water (The Sinking Of The Titanic) - Mance Lipscomb

  • 07 Preview San Francisco Bay Blues - Jesse Fuller

  • 08 Preview I Double Do Love You - Jesse Fuller

  • 09 Preview Samson And Delilah - Reverend Gary Davis

  • 10 Preview I Won't Be Back (No More) - Reverend Gary Davis

  • 11 Preview Intro/The Train Is Leaving - Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry

  • 12 Preview Drink Muddy Water - Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry

  • 13 Preview Long Gone - Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry

  • 14 Preview Key To The Highway - Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry

  • 15 Preview My Baby Done Changed The Lock On The Door - Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry

  • 16 Preview Clean Up At Home - Sleepy John Estes

Side 3

  • 01 Preview The Woman I'm Loving, She's Taken My Appetite (Monkey Faced Woman) - Lightnin' Hopkins

  • 02 Preview Baby Please Don't Go - Lightnin' Hopkins

  • 03 Preview Shake That Thing - Lightnin' Hopkins

  • 04 Preview Tupelo - John Lee Hooker

  • 05 Preview Bus Station Blues - John Lee Hooker

  • 06 Preview Let's Make It - John Lee Hooker

  • 07 Preview Great Fire Of Natchez (The Mighty Fire) - John Lee Hooker

  • 08 Preview Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker

  • 09 Preview I Can't Quit You Now Blues - John Lee Hooker

  • 10 Preview How Long Blues - Memphis Slim

  • 11 Preview Black Cat Crossed My Path - Memphis Slim

  • 12 Preview Harlem Bound - Memphis Slim

  • 13 Preview Piano Instrumental - Memphis Slim

  • 14 Preview Blow Wind Blow - Muddy Waters with Otis Spann

  • 15 Preview Flood - Muddy Waters & Otis Spann

  • 16 Preview See See Rider - The Chambers Brothers

  • 17 Preview Blues With A Feeling - Paul Butterfield Blues Band

  • 18 Preview Born In Chicago - Paul Butterfield Blues Band

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A rich and compelling portrait of a golden age.

Record Collector

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