Over 50 years since his discovery by ethnomusicologists Dr. Harry Oster and Richard Allen in the prison farm of Angola, Louisiana, what is it that makes the blues as sung and picked out by Robert Pete Williams such a singular listening experience, unequaled elsewhere in that musical form? As Peter Guralnick, in his Feel Like Going Home book writes: “It’s difficult to approve the banalities of most blues singers after listening to Robert Pete Williams. More than anyone else he shatters the conventions of the form and refuses to rely upon any of the clichés, either of music or of lyric, which bluesman after bluesman will invoke. Instead he sings blues which reflect a unique and personal vision; he makes each song unmistakably his own.”
Unfamiliar keys, cliché-free lyricism, spontaneity, an individualistic style in invoking his particular blues, all make Robert Pete Williams an idiosyncratic entry into the canon. It’s impossible to listen to blues artists before him and hear strains of his particular style. None have matched it since. Louisiana Blues contains 10 songs recorded in the month of July 1966 out in Berkeley, California for John Fahey’s Takoma imprint. Contains liner notes by Andy Beta.