In the late '50s Sleepy John Estes wasn't nearly as visible as he had been before and during World War II -- in fact, he had become so obscure that some historians wondered if he had died.
But the blues veteran was still very much alive, and in 1962 a 63-year-old Estes (some claimed he was 58 or 57) made an impressive comeback with The Legend of Sleepy John Estes. Produced by Delmark president Bob Koester on March 24, 1962, this historic acoustic session finds singer/guitarist Estes joined by Ed Wilkinson on bass, John "Knocky" Parker on piano, and long-time ally Hammie Nixon on harmonica. Legend isn't much different from Estes' recordings of the '20s, '30s, and '40s, and the Tennessee native successfully revisits old favorites like "Divin' Duck Blues," "Someday Baby Blues," "Stop That Thing," "Milk Cow Blues," and "Married Woman Blues."
Although not the definitive recordings of these songs, Estes' 1962 versions are captivating nonetheless. Delmark has a lot to be proud of, and getting Estes back into the studio after many years of neglect (reunited with Hammie Nixon, no less!) is certainly among the Chicago indie's greatest accomplishments.
Alex Henderson ~ AllMusicGuide
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