SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON
THE ORIGINAL: LATER YEARS 1939 - 47 (4CD SET)
Sonny Boy Williamson spent his teenage years learning harmonica licks from Noah Lewis and Hammie Nixon and travelling around the south with Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes but he headed north in 1934, signed a contract with RCA's Bluebird label and worked for the next decade with some of Chicago's finest. Thanks to his naturally fluid blues harp style and his snappy song writing talent he quickly stepped into the role of the king of the Chicago blues, occupying an enviable position equal to that of Muddy Waters in the 1950s. By the time he left RCA in 1947 he had recorded well over a hundred tracks that have been classed as some of the finest in blues history.
He was revered by musicians: Muddy Waters made a hit of "Train Fare Blues", Howlin' Wolf sold truckloads of "Sugar Mama", Junior Wells appropriated "Better Cut That Out" and Jimmy Rogers snatched "Bring Another Half Pint". Harmonica players especially, admired his trade mark call and response style where he alternated his swaggering vocals with rasping harmonica blasts. Listen to Little Walter, Junior Wells, Billy Boy Arnold and many others and you'll hear any amount of Sonny Boy's staggering licks, innovative moves and careering vitality.
He was far and away the most exalted bluesman in the Windy City, playing and recording with the cream of Chicago musicians like Washboard Sam, Big Maceo, Tampa Red, Ransom Knowling, Judge Riley, Blind John Davis, Eddie Boyd, Charlie McCoy, Walter Davis and Willie Dixon. Not forgetting his beginnings tho' he was always keen to work on the sessions of the two men who had encouraged him from the start - Yank Rachell and Big Joe Williams and this fabulous 104 track box set covers those recordings (sixteen of Yank's and twenty-four of Big Joe's) along with his own complete recordings presented chronologically from 1939 to 1947.
Some of the most enduring and extraordinary blues tracks are included here - "Baby Please Don't Go", "Wild Cow Moan", "Highway 49" and "Someday Baby" from Big Joe, "Katy Lee", Peach Tree Blues" "Tappin' That Thing" and Loudella" from Rachell - not to mention the host of great stuff from Sonny Boy himself!
Do you think you deserve a little treat? You know you do - so prepare yourself for something extra special and listen to songs like "Sloppy Drunk Blues", Early In The Morning", "Lacy Belle", "Honey Bee Blues" and all the other blissful tracks on this great set. Best of all - it'll only set you back £14.00 plus p&p. Such a small price for something so brilliant!
Ask for JSP77101. Usual nice low price for this and all JSP boxes only £14.50 plus p&p
Review Date: January 2009