Both sides were recorded in Houston, Texas, in February 1948. This single was released in February 1951.
This is another in the "Blues on 78" series where we showcase rips from original shellac 78 rpm discs provided by El Enmascarado, and this time we're really going "down home." These sides are probably the rootsiest sounds to hit the blog so far. Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins' musical career began in the 1920s with Blind Lemon Jefferson and Texas Alexander. In 1946 he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum who got him signed to Aladdin Records out in LA - she had already scouted Amos Milburn for the same label.
Although Lightnin's style harked back to the rough country blues of the 20s and 30s, he had a series of entries in the R&B charts in the late 1940s and early 1950s for Aladdin, Modern, Gold Star and Sittin' In With. This disc didn't chart, but it's a belter - with "Moonrise Blues" being an especially powerful doom-laden performance.
Says El Enmascarado: "A listen to the lyrics of Moonrise Blues makes it easy to guess that the song Bad Moon Rising "borrows" from it. It's one of the darkest Lightning Hopkins songs I can remember. He must have had a big fight with his girlfriend before leaving for the studio."
By way of contrast, "Honey Honey Blues" is an attractive little pleader with lovely guitar playing. There's more Lightnin' coming up in the series, so keep looking in on Be Bop Wino, the blog where the blues reigns!