Thursday, April 24, 2014

Music about our area: "Washington DC Hospital Center Blues" from 1964

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post for Curbed on songs about places in DC. I've mentioned some here before like "Rock Creek Park" by Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds and the album Rock Creek Park by Oddisee.

However, one commenter mentioned a 1964 blues song called "Washington DC Hospital Center Blues" by bluesman Skip James, and I really like it. It may be a bit of a stretch to consider the Hospital Center, which opened in 1958, in Columbia Heights, but it's pretty close. Enjoy!

James, who was born in 1902 in Mississippi, had a successful career until the Great Depression, when he gave up performing the blues. Then James, with a number of other "rediscovered" blues musicians, performed to great acclaim at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. This song comes from his album Greatest of the Delta Blues Singers, which All Music Guide says was recorded right after. A pretty interesting story.

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