Skip James, Chris Thomas King, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

Hi, its part 63 of my youtube countdown is completely awesome.  Big set up I know, but I got “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” a legendary blues song written and performed by delta bluesman Skip James, and Chris Thomas King, who helped make the song famous for its inclusion in the “O Brother Where Art Thou” movie, playing it live.  Now Skip was one of the original bluesmen from the delta region in Mississippi who recorded in the 30s, but faded into obscurity because his records didn’t sell.  He was rediscovered in the 60s, like many great delta bluesman from his era (think Son House), and  appeared at the Newport Folk Festival.  He died a few years later in 1969.  Skip’s personality was moody and distant, and it was reflected in his music, often featuring a minor guitar key style.  “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” is a masterpiece example of this style and resonance; an utterly tortured song about drifting and searching for work door to door.  Chris Thomas King, along with the Coen Brothers, revitalized the track for “O Brother Where Art Thou.”  Check out these two performances, the first of Skip’s original recording, and the second King playing it live in the present day.

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