This here is a great video of Mr. Sonny Boy Nelson (relation unlikely) playing Blind Lemon’s great ol’ Matchbox Blues. While this song has been often covered, and perhaps is even better known for the rock versions of Carl Perkins and the Beatles, this iteration reaches down into the bowels of the blues and gives em a pull. Nelson’s finger-style guitar is absolutely perfect. With the rhythm of a slow moving train accented by a spare lead that skips and hops across his worn guitar, Nelson gives us the real old acoustic blues the way it seems no one plays it anymore. The guitar playing is perfectly matched by Nelson’s weary and soft vocals, which it is obvious need not reach far for the emotions the song demands. This is a song for those who have nothing, and need a new start. This is a song for soothing the soul, so it can keep moving forward.
“I’m sittin’ here wonderin’, will a matchbox hold my clothes?”
“I ain’t got no matches but I still got a long way to go.”
Additionally, I’d like to note that this video came from the excellent Alan Lomax Archive on youtube. To me Alan is like the Indiana Jones of music, and without his musicological work much of the music I love would likely have been lost, swept away like so much silt by the passage of time in the Mississippi Delta.