Skip James' music had an other-worldly quality which few could imitate, one of them being the legendary Robert Johnson, who was clearly influenced by James and borrowed freely from him in such songs as "Hellhound on my Trail" and "32-20 Blues." James' music is listened to more today than it ever was during his earthly life, and he is widely influential among blues guitarists and singers of the current generation—a testimony to the unique and enduring quality of his work.
Like several other early bluesmen, Skip James was torn between the "devil's music" and church. After a brief recording career with Paramount Records, he worked as the choir director of his father's church and became an ordained minister in both the Baptist and Methodist denominations. After his rediscovery, he did not like to mix with other bluesmen who took advantage of the loose moral values of the 1960s folk scene, remaining married to his wife Lorenzo throughout his life. His repertoire included several gospel or spiritual songs, such as "Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader" and "Motherless & Fatherless."