Son House, or Edward James “Son” House Jr., was a unique figure in blues history. His highly emotional vocals and slide guitar playing combined to give him a powerful, sometimes almost otherworldly, sound.
After a stint as a preacher in his early 20s, House performed and recorded from the mid-1920s to the mid-’40s, when he gave up music and moved to Rochester, N.Y. He was rediscovered in 1964 and enjoyed a revival of his career during the ongoing folk-blues years until he retired agin in 1974 for health reasons.
After he was rediscovered in 1964, he recorded what would become his seminal album, “The Legendary Son House: Father of Folk Blues,” in 1965 on Columbia Records.
But, as it turns out, he was recorded earlier, at a November 1964, performance at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., by Dick Waterman. who has had tapes of that show stashed away for the past 60 years. Waterman was one of three blues fans who tracked House to his Rochester home and then helped to revive his career.
Now, material from the Wabash concert will be released next March by Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound record label.
The recordings come from a Nov. 23, 1964 performance Son House gave at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana; five months later, the blues legend cut his seminal 1965 Columbia Records album, The Legendary Son House: Father of Folk Blues, which introduced him to a new, wider audience.
The album contains new versions of seven songs House later recorded for Columbia — including a new rendition of “Preachin’ Blues.” The title track, however had never been recorded, and was played at his live performances.
Here’s a Rolling Stone article about the new album.
A video of “Preachin’ Blues,” from the upcoming album: