After bumping around New Orleans as a pickup musician and busker, Snooks Eaglin had the first opportunity to record under his own name in 1958, when folklorist Harry Oster discovered him playing acoustic guitar on the streets of the Crescent City. At age 22, the blind guitarist had already developed an extraordinarily singular style, especially when it came to strumming and fingerpicking. It was later surmised that Eaglin’s technique derived from his ability to play bass and guitar parts simultaneously, a talent he honed playing in R&B bands in the early '50s. Befitting a busker, his repertoire here is strikingly diverse—ranging from Dixieland standards to deep blues and Nat King Cole–style R&B. Eaglin’s idiosyncratic guitar playing made him a New Orleans legend, but the real revelation of this early session is his singing. Though he was often compared to Ray Charles, Eaglin had a soothing, understated vocal tone that was quite distinctive from the soul shouter. His rich and intimate vocals are best experienced on “Drifting Blues,” a rendition of the Charles Brown classic.