: Can anyone help me. John Cephas taught me to
: play Skip James' 'Prison Blues' at a
: workshop in the UK. I reckon this is the
: most emotional bluesiest blues I have heard
: and I just love playing it. John Cephas
: lists it and describes it as a Skip James
: song, yet I cannot locate a recording of
: this by Skip James. I have searched every
: list and catalogue known to me including the
: extensive discocgraphy by Stefan Wirz, all
: to no avail.
: Did Skip record this tune? Does anyone know
: where I can get a recording. I must hear
: Skip James doing it! Help!
: Delta Dan
Dan, it's been a few years since you posted this request and so maybe you no longer need any information, but just in case...
I was a personal friend of John's for over twenty years. He taught me a lot, and we talked a lot about music. (Often sitting on his porch for hours with a case of Corona or a bottle of fifteen year old Laphroig!)
The Skip-tune you're looking for is called "Good Road Camp Blues." It was not a tune Skip recorded earlier (although I believe it has sense been released added onto a collection of Skip's later 60s Vanguard recordings). I heard it once on a tape-recording a friend had made at a Skip concert in New York back in the 60s.
John heard Skip do it at a concert in DC, which is where he got the lyrics from. He didn't do it exactly like Skip did. He said Skip's version was more like say "Cherryball" or something, and so he did it with his own take on it. (Which I think John's is even superior to Skip's version. One of the most huantingly eveocative tunes John ever played.) John often did his own thing with tunes he liked, for example "Illinois Blues" (another Skip tune) or say "Police Dog Blues" (a Blind Blake tune) and others.
Anyway, just in case you're still looking for information (or even still visiting this site!) I just thought I'd help if I could.