Recorded not at his own country juke, but in a booming, hollow-sounding church, the late North Mississippi bluesman Junior Kimbrough's debut was ghostly, and vivid.
Why he didn't record it at his housewhich became such a popular neighborhood party spot that Kimbrough eventually conceded its nightclub status by putting a Junior's Place" sign out frontI'll never know.
Still, the surroundings, and the sidemen, give all of All Night Long" the mythic, American feel of the early Sun Studio work of Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash.
Both rockabilly great Charlie Feathers and Sun sessions player Stan Kesler once said they grew up on Kimbrough, who was from near Hudsonville, Miss. You'll find these guys' names on several Presley tunes, and on the liner notes of All Night Long."
These echoing chordsnot to mention a brash, insistent (but not fast) back beatimbue the proceedings with that ageless sound of 1950s music. Yet this was entirely new. Feathers said Kimbrough was the beginning and end of music" for him and, in more ways than one, he wasn't kidding.
Purpled clouds rolled in during one of Kimbrough's sessions, and improbablyor, is that ... appropriately?lightning struck while recording was taking place. Junior trailed off on the final track, Slow Lightnin,'" and you could almost smell the ozone.
This thing was scary good. Where-you-been-hiding good. Buy-everything-damn-thing-you-put-out-from-now-on good.
But the sad part was, All Night Long" (released on Fat Possum when Kimbrough was 62 years old, after years of working at a John Deere dealership) came not at the beginning but too close to the end of things for this lost blues-playing genius.
Kimbrough only made a scant four more albums before he was felled in January 1998 by a heart attack while watching TV on the couch of his longtime girlfriend in a Holly Springs, Miss., public housing project.
In quick succession over those six years, however, he had put out some head-turning masterpiecesstarting with this one. All five of Kimbrough's CDs are somehow both chilling and rollicking, and always a boundary-bursting surprise. (He continued, for instance, a complex exploration of African polyrhthyms.)
I don't know how many more Kimbrough had in him, but I'm sorry I didn't get to find out.
I grew up listening to my father's Jazz records and listening to radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's Jazz records and listening to radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.