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SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON

DOWN AND OUT BLUES (2CD)

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Not Now Music (NOT2CD356)

Along with Little Walter and Big Walter Horton, Sonny Boy Williamson was undoubtedly one of the top three greatest blues harmonica players in post-war blues and this CD showcases the wonderful Rice Miller, aka Sonny Boy Williamson, of West Helena, Arkansas whose sly, world weary approach to the blues and impassioned harmonica playing created some of the best post-war blues ever issued. His recordings are on a par with those of his label-mates Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and he left us some of the most loved songs in the entire blues world.

Not Now music have issued this double CD of pure excellence by combining his superb Chess album Down And Out Blues with four Checker 45s (Your Imagination, Born Blind, Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide and Unseeing Eye) and then adding 22 tracks taken from his days at Lillian McMurray's Trumpet Records.

If you class yourself as a blues fan, it should be mandatory for you to listen to these Chess/Checker sides where Sonny Boy's backing bands included some of the greatest blues men in Chicago. Muddy Waters, Robert Lockwood, Otis Spann, Jimmy Rogers, Luther Tucker and Fred Below all helped Sonny Boy to lay down the foundation that later inspired Bob Dylan to develop what he called that "wild mercury sound" in the mid-sixties.  If anybody tries to tell you that Bob didn't listen to Sonny Boy's records when he was writing the material for Blonde On Blonde, don't believe ‘em. Listen to the power and poetry of songs like Fattening Frogs For Snakes, Keep It To Yourself, Don't Start Me Talkin', Your Funeral And My Trial or Dissatisfied and you'll see what I mean.

The raw, rasping Trumpet sides include such luminous tracks as Mr Down Child, Nine Below Zero, Going In Your Direction, Stop Now Baby, Eyesight To The Blind, Pontiac Blues and Cross My Heart - spectacular blues that have withstood the test of time and still stand head and shoulders over most in the pantheon of blues history.  How can you resist this stuff? You need it in your record racks.

Ask for NOT2CD356

Only £5.35 plus p&p for this 2CD set at Red Lick

 

Review Date: August 2010

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