Elmore James: Blues After Hours

The seminal blues guitarist's 1955 debut album, including Dust My Broom, Crossroads and Moneymaker, is reissued with bonus tracks


Elmore James is just one of the many authentic bluesmen cited by the likes of Peter Green, Gary Moore and Eric Clapton as being influential on their developments of the blues. Regarded as “king of the slide guitar” he had an individual touch which gave rhythmic thrust but being ever-present led to a degree of repetition.

Blues After Hours, his debut album, is featured here in its entirety (on 180gm vinyl) and supplemented by six items from subsequent years. It opens up with Dust My Blues/Broom, a song he became associated with despite it being an electric update of Robert Johnson’s I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom. Elsewhere, Johnson is also represented by Standing At The Crossroads, a staple for many of the blues-orientated groups of the 1960s.

There are fine treatments of his own Shake Your Moneymaker, with the voice definitely being on the money and Leroy Carr’s Blues Before Sunrise, another song which found favour during the blues boom of the 60s into the 70s.

James had a raw style, evident on all his original material here, that appealed to enthusiasts looking for the real thing – unfortunately he missed out on bringing his skills to a wider audience when he died of a heart attack, just prior to joining the American Folk Blues package on its 1963 European tour.

(1) Dust My Blues (aka Dust My Broom); (2) Sunnyland; Mean And Evil; (3) Dark And Dreary; (2) Standing At the Crossroads; (4) Shake Your Moneymaker; (5) The Sun Is Shining; I Can’t Hold Out (aka Talk To Me Baby); (2) Happy Home; No Love In My Heart (For You); (1) Blues Before Sunrise; I Was A Fool; Goodbye Baby; (6) It Hurts Me Too; (5) Madison Blues; (7) The Sky Is Crying (43.31)
Elmore James (v, g) with:
(1) The Broom Dusters: Frank Fields (b); Edward Frank (p); Earl Palmer (d) plus unknown backing vocals. New Orleans, August 1955.
(2) The Broom Dusters: Ralph “Chuck” Hamilton (b); Willard McDaniel (p); Jesse Sailes (d); Maxwell Davis (ts); Jewel Grant (bar); James Parr (t). Los Angeles, August/September 1954.
(3) The Broom Dusters: Ransom Knowling (b); Little Johnny Jones (p); Odie Payne, Jr. (d); J. T. Brown (ts); Boyd Atkins (as, ts). Chicago, August 1953.
(4) Johnny “Big Moose” Walker (p); Sammy Lee Bully (b); Sam Meyers (d). New Orleans, 1961.
(5) Brown (ts); Jones (p); Payne (d); Homesick James (b, g). Chicago, 14 April 1960.
(6) as (5) but add Wayne Bennett, Eddie Taylor (g). 12 April 1957.
(7) as (5) but 3-4 November 1959.
Blues Joint 8020