Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Elmore James: The Sky is Crying

Our Tasty Licks Tuesday selection takes us back to 1960 to the king of electric slide guitar Elmore James. Playing on the Chicago circuit, James was a transplanted Mississippian who was influenced by Robert Johnson, Tampa Red, and Kokomo Arnold. Recorded in 1959, “The Sky is Crying” was released on Bobby Robinson’s Fire Records label.

The song was credited to Elmo James and His Broomdusters – a name taken from his earlier hit, “Dust My Broom.” The band included Homesick James on bass, Odie Payne on drums, Johnny Jones on piano, and J.T. Brown on saxophone. “The Sky is Crying” peaked at #15 on the R&B charts and was the last record of his to chart prior to his 1963 death.

The song is well known for James’ unusual tone on his guitar and the technique which he achieved this tone has been debated for decades. “The Sky is Crying” was inducted as one of the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1991.

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