Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Frankie Lee Sims - Lucy Mae Blues

Born in New Orleans but brought up in Dallas, Texas, Frankie Lee Sims is the cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins - their styles are quite similar, though each have their own idiosyncrasies - and peer of others great Texans such as T-Bone Walker, King Curtis and Albert Collins, all of whom he worked with. Sims actually went to college - unusual for a bluesman - and taught school for a few years while playing in blues clubs on the weekends. He had a regional hit with "Lucy Mae Blues", went to Chicago where he played alongside the likes of Muddy Waters, Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Etta James, appeared on American Bandstand and recorded with King Curtis. He continued to play and record until his untimely death of pneumonia at the age of 53.

While employing the same technique of simultaneous bass runs and treble licks for a full sound, as Hopkins did, Sims often has fantastically primitive drum backing (sometimes practically deliriously falling apart) and other instruments, such as harmonica, filling out the tunes. His voice is raspy, harsh and filled with emotion and the guitar is beautifully distorted and it all blends to make an incredible, raw and real blues sound.

Sims is another find that I simply stumbled upon, but damn glad that I did! He sings of being "Raggedy and Dirty" and that is how he sounds, which makes this another new favorite! Again, Amazon has a great price ($7.99 new) so there is no reason not to own this!