1 The Sky Is Crying
2 Call It Stormy Monday
3 I Need You
4 The Sun Is Shining
5 Dust My Blues
6 It Hurts
Elmore was born in Richland, Miss. and first learned to play a "diddley bow" by the mid '30s his family had moved
to the Belzoni area. It was there that Elmore met Robert Johnson and Rice (Sonny Boy Williamson II) Miller. Robert's "Dust
my Broom" lick (Johnson got the lyrics from Kokmo Arnold's 1934 "Sagefield Woman Blues") became Elmore's signature.
After a stint in the Navy, Elmore started gigging with Rice Miller and Willie Love around Memphis in the late '40s and did
his first sessions backing Sonny Boy on "Eyesight to the Blind" in 1951. Later that year Elmore recorded "Dust
My Broom" for the first time. The song was an immediate success. He next recorded for the Bihari bros Modern/ Flair label.
His band , the "Broomdusters" , featuring the piano of Johnny Jones and the sax of J. T. Brown, created a fusion
of country blues and urban swing that tore it up. B.B. King said his note bending and vibrato were attempts to cop Elmore's
style. Elmore was prolific in this period , also working for Meteor and Chess
In 1957 he recorded a Tampa Red tune,
"It Hurts Me Too"on Chief Records with Wayne Bennett, Homesick James and Eddie Taylor on guitars(all playing through
the same amp). While Elmore's sound was ELECTRIC, he usually played a Kay acoustic guitar which he outfitted with pickups
and homebrew wiring . So much for Hi-Tech!
In 1960 Elmore releases "The Sky Is Crying"(covered by Albert King
, among others) on Fire. There's something about this session and the later Fire/Enjoy sessions that clicked . These are among
his best recordings(actually there is NO bad Elmore James record!). Songs from this period include "Done Somebody Wrong"(no
Greg Allman didn't write it!) and "Bleeding Heart" (covered by Jimi Hendrix). The Capricorn reisssue of the complete
Fire-Enjoy sessions is a great place to start your Elmore collection.Put that box in open D, crank it up and go for the twelfth
fret! As Elmore said,"Yessss...!!!". This is the s***t! Don't take my word, ask B.B.King, Eric Clapton, Homesick
James, J.B. Hutto, John Mayall or Geroge Thorogood. Or listen to the Allmans, Butterfield, Fleetwood Mac and a list too long
to mention. . .