“A rather lofty title, but it’s totally misleading because it wasn’t recorded at Carnegie Hall at all. It was a kind of attempt to suggest a concert at that venue. I guess the label wanted people to think, Wow, he played at Carnegie Hall. He must be important!
“Which, of course, he was. From the singles he did, like Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby to Baby, Where You Going? to albums like I’m Jimmy Reed, the man was a treasure.
“This was a two-disc set, and that in itself was a novelty. I got it when I was around 10 or 11. I don’t think I ever saw a record that had two discs in it before. Such a cool album.
“Musically, somebody might listen to this and go, ‘Oh, that’s just three-chord stuff.’ But the complexity that takes place between the exchange of [co-guitarist] Eddie Taylor and Jimmy Reed is fascinating. A Mississippi mystery. Even though they’re playing two entirely different figures, it all meshes in a way that makes it impossible to figure out who’s playing what. I think this record influenced many, many guitarists. Check it out, it’s a party!”
Listen: Jimmy Reed At Carnegie Hall - Bright Lights, Big City (1961)