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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Son House Recordings Finally Being Released After 60 Years

After sitting in a cardboard box for nearly 60 years, a collection of previously unreleased Son House recordings will finally see the light of day with the arrival of Forever on My Mind on March 18, 2022 via Dan Auerbach’s Easy Eye Sound.

The delta blues singer and guitarist Son House died in 1988 at the age of 86. When Son House died, the Black Keys frontman, Dan Auerbach, was eight years old. Like so many of his blues-influenced rocker peers, Auerbach has idolized Son House and his music for years, and now Auerbach is working with Son House’s former manager to release a new album of previously unheard Son House recordings.

In 1964, around the time that collegiate folk audiences were discovering the music that Son House had made decades earlier, obsessive fan Dick Waterman found Son House working at a train station in Rochester, New York. Waterman became Son House’s manager, and he booked him to play at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Waterman held onto the tape of Son House performing at Wabash, and now Forever on My Mind features new versions of seven songs Son House recorded during his time with Columbia — including the new LP’s first offering, a fresh rendition of “Preachin’ Blues” — but the eighth song, the title track, was never officially recorded, and only existed as a part of Son House’s live sets.

Auerbach, talking to Rolling Stone said, he grew up devouring Son House’s Columbia recordings and was stunned to hear the 1964 Wabash tape, which had long been in the possession of House’s manager, Dick Waterman. He told Rolling Stone “When I heard those Son House recordings, it was really emotional, honestly,” Auerbach says. “Because I had such a deep connection to the songs, and to hear those old songs in a brand new light, to hear him singing so intimately, in such good form, sober, and the quality of the recording was so immaculate — I was just really overjoyed.”

Forever on My Mind is just the first release Auerbach and Easy Eye are planning from the trove of tapes they acquired from Waterman, who also worked with Lightnin’ Hopkins, Skip James, Arthur Crudup, and other blues luminaries. Auerbach can’t say yet what rarities will come next, but he quips, “Go look at who Dick Waterman managed, and you can imagine.”

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