Who’s the man down there? Jimmy Reed, and it’s his birthday!

Bluesman Jimmy Reed had the good fortune of being a commercially successful artist, at a time and in a genre, that produced only a slim number of artists able to make the same claim. I’s not difficult to hear how Reed managed to crossover, penning (to be fair, his wife, Mama Reed, allegedly wrote many of his songs, though she remains uncredited to this day) such catchy and instantly recognizable Blues standards as, Big Lights, Bright City, Big Boss Man, and Baby What You Want Me To Do (aka, Peepin’ and Hidin’, and You Got Me Runnin’). In fact Reed was in such demand that his massive catalog is often littered with what are essentially rewrites of his earlier songs, in order to supply the people’s needs.

There’s a hypnotic quality to Reed’s laconic and frequently slurred vocals, paired with a very minimal, most often slow to mid tempo, Blues backing. Hearing Jimmy Reed is liking slipping into a warm bath after taking a beating: you may feel a little dazed and punch drunk, but there’s something supremely comforting about it. Hell, even his harmonica playing is soothing.

I am so bummed there’s only this tiny, and fantastically shot, clip of this performance. Too good!

I remember reading the liners to one of Charly Records many Reed collections, and they mentioned the massive amount of booze (I believe vodka) that he would put down during a session. Every time I hear this track, with such magnificently mumbled lyrics, I feel that he hit that minuscule moment of perfect drunkeness,


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