Rolling Stone released two compendiums of Record Reviews in the early 70s, back when Lenny Kaye, John Mendelsohn, Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, Bud Scoppa, Ed Ward, Richard Meltzer, Al Kooper, Ralph J. Gleason, Paul Gambaccini, Stephen Davis, Jon Landau, Jann Wenner, and (occasionally) Nick Tosches, and even Peter Townshend (Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy album) were writing reviews for the (formerly) underground ‘rock’ publication. Tip of the hat to Record Review’s Vol. II for pointing out Hop Wilson‘s distinctive steel guitar-driven rockin’ blues sound, as on masterpiece, “Chicken Stuff“:
Hop Wilson & His Chickens (1958)
As Peter Guralnick writes in The Rolling Stone Record Review:
Especially enterprising but a little further afield is Chicken Stuff: Houston Ghetto Blues, an English album available on Flyright. This is made up of six cuts by Hop Wilson from his legendary Ivory sessions and a side of live recordings. Wilson, one of the few bluemen to master steel guitar, employs a driving bottleneck-style technique which shows traces of Robert Nighthawk and Elmore James. With his deep brooding voice, stunning guitar work, and the overwhelming power of his blues, he is a singer who deserves much wider recognition.
Sadly, too few recordings feature Hop Wilson (who also went by “Poppa Hop” and also “Poppy Hop“). John Broven, thankfully, provides some helpful historical background in South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous —
As word spread that there was a recording studio in Lake Charles, a few blues artists, mainly from Texas, started arriving at Goldband. Hop Wilson was easily the best. His first recording, ‘Chicken Stuff’ in 1958, was a startling instrumental that had all the bounce of an old country dance number … At the time Hop was touring Texas and Louisiana with Ivory Semien’s band. He had a second Goldband release, the stark ‘Broke and Hungry,’ before recording three impressive singles for Ivory Records in the early 60s.
Goldband‘s Eddie Shuler would tell John Broven how “[“Chicken Stuff”] is unique in the blues field” in that “he played a Hawaiian guitar — six strings of blues soul.”
Hop Wilson & Steel Guitar
Hop WIlson’s soulful steel-based blues sound would help set the stage for ground-breaking album, Sweet Funky Steel, released by Freddie Roulette (pictured below), coincidentally enough, around the time of this Rolling Stone Record Review‘s publication (as featured previously).