Lightnin' Wells and Chris Turner
Notes on The West Pettigrew Street Sessions
Pettigrew Street is to Durham what Elm Street is to Dallas or Beale Street is to Memphis; a celebrated, legendary street associated with a former "across the tracks" lifestyle of partying and music making. With this in mind (or probably as an afterthought) a recording session was planned at the home of Chris Turner, who happened to live on the above mentioned street at the time on a gravel road near the kudzu-infested railroad tracks in West Durham. The idea was to keep things down-to-earth, informal and simple as possible with a few friends present.
The year was 1984. Lightnin' Wells was hot in the local scene, playing his brand of acoustic country blues in small venues in the Bull City, and he traveled up from his home in Greenville for this occasion. Chris Turner, the British-born harmonica wizard, was fresh from gigs with his eclectic all-acoustic group, The Nee Ningy Band. Triangle Slim was a weekly DJ on the "Orange County Special" over in Chapel Hill, spinning folk, bluegrass and blues disks, and was on hand this evening to lend moral support and to play some outrageous kazoo. Jawbone was there, too, to fetch beer from the local A+P and to blow jug on his infamous 20-gallon gas can. Johnnie Kline (J.K.) set up the sound and mixed the tunes as they were played live in stereo, ceasing operations only when the train was passing nearby. Lightnin' and Chris ran through many old blues classics during the evening, rarely repeating a take. The tape rolled on capturing the entire event including false starts, conversations, puns, gags and lots of laughter. This has been edited, however, leaving us with 15 musical selections in the spirit of the Bull City/Pettigrew Street tradition that I hope will bring much enjoyment.
Click HERE to access song files.