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ArtWork By  Mark Betcher

This little song worked out for me. I like the emotion behind the sound (of the original song). I hope I didn't butcher it too badly.


The Sky Is Crying
Elmore James

James was born Elmore Brooks in the old Richland community in Holmes County, Mississippi (not to be confused with two other locations of the same name in Mississippi, one in Humphreys County and the other in Rankin County). He was the illegitimate son of 15-year-old Leola Brooks, a field hand. His father was probably Joe Willie "Frost" James, who moved in with Leola, and so Elmore took this as his surname. His parents adopted an orphaned boy, Robert Holston, at some point.

Elmore began making music at age 12 using a simple one-string instrument ('diddley bow' or 'jitterbug') strung up on a shack wall. As a teen he was playing at local dances under the names "Cleanhead" and "Joe Willie James." His first marriage was to Minnie Mae in or around 1942, whom he apparently never divorced. He subsequently married twice, to Georgianna Crump in 1947 and to a woman called Janice in or around 1954. (Another reported marriage of Elmore to a Josephine Harris has been found to be a mistaken record; a different Elmore James.[1])
Other well-known musicians of that time with whom he played included the "second"' Sonny Boy Williamson and the legendary Robert Johnson. (There is a dispute as to whether Robert Johnson or Elmore wrote James's trademark song, "Dust My Broom".[1]. Elmore was still under 20 when Johnson had recorded his version of the song.) Although Johnson died in 1938, James (like many other musicians) was strongly influenced by him, and also by Kokomo Arnold and Tampa Red. Elmore recorded several of Tampa Red's songs, and even inherited from his band two of his famous "Broomdusters", 'Little' Johnny Jones (piano) and Odie Payne (drums).

An important side to Elmore's character which may have hastened his demise was his lifelong taste for, and manufacture of, moonshine whiskey, to which he was introduced at an early age. Alcohol killed his bandmates and friends Willie Love and Johnny Jones at an early age, and probably others too. His regular rhythm guitarist Homesick James maintained his longevity was due to his not partaking of the heavy drinking sessions after — and often during — gigs, a refusal that was unpopular with the rest of the band. Elmore was also reportedly an extremely fast driver who also loved hunting with guns and dogs down in Mississippi, whence he would head off for protracted periods.

During World War II James joined the United States Navy, was promoted to coxswain and took part in the invasion of Guam against the Japanese. Upon his discharge, Elmore returned to central Mississippi and eventually settled in Canton with his adopted brother Robert Holston, it was at this time he learned that he had a serious heart condition. Working in Robert's electrical shop he devised his unique electric sound, using parts from the shop and an unusual placement of two D'Armond pick ups.[1] He began recording with Trumpet Records in nearby Jackson in January 1951, first as sideman to the second Sonny Boy Williamson and also to their mutual friend Wille Love and possibly others, then debuting as a session leader in August with "Dust My Broom". It was a surprise R&B hit in 1952 and turned James into a star. He then broke his contract with Trumpet Records to sign up with the Bihari Brothers through Ike Turner (who played guitar and piano on a couple of his early Bihari recordings). James' "I Believe" was another hit a year later. During the 1950s he recorded for the Bihari Brothers' Flair Records, Meteor Records[2] and Modern Records labels, as well as for Chess Records and Mel London's Chief Records for whom "It Hurts Me Too" was a hit. His backing musicians were known as the Broomdusters. In 1959 he began recording what are perhaps his best sides for Bobby Robinson's Fire Records label. These include "The Sky Is Crying" (credited to Elmo James and His Broomdusters), "My Bleeding Heart", "Stranger Blues", "Look On Yonder Wall", "Done Somebody Wrong", and "Shake Your Moneymaker", all of which are among the most famous of blues recordings.

Elmore James died of his third heart attack in Chicago, Illinois in 1963, just prior to a tour of Europe with that year's American Folk Blues Festival. He is buried in the Newport Baptist Church Cemetery, Ebenezer, Holmes County, Mississippi. His headstone was provided for by Phil Walden and Capricorn Records through a grant to the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund. The bronze and granite memorial features a statuary likness of James playing the guitar. The memorial unveiling took place on December 10, 1992 with several members of the Mississippi State Legislature in attendance along with Dick Waterman, Phil Walden, musician Marshall Crenshaw, members of James' family, and many others.