was "rediscovered" -- alive and well, despite rumors that he'd died a violent death sometime after his last official recording session in 1940 -- by blues enthusiasts John Fahey
and Ed Denson
. These live tapes, made late that year by Fahey
, were among the first tangible results of that rediscovery. This older cousin to B.B. King
still had all of his stuff -- he was only in his mid-50s, and unlike a lot of older bluesmen who were well past their primes for the '60s blues revival, he could still play and sing up a storm. Indeed, he was playing faster and more precise in 1963 than he was in 1940, and his slide work shimmers and glistens throughout this CD, and the voice is superb as well. Opening with "Streamline Special," he goes through a dazzling display of repertory, sounding like two or three players at once as he works the strings, playing lead and rhythm simultaneously on his acoustic guitar, in pieces running anywhere from a minute and a half to eight minutes or more. King
has admitted trying to recreate White's
sound in his own electric playing, but these tapes show just how much of a losing battle that was, against this acoustic guitar virtuoso.