Later Years 1939-1947

Performers Sonny Boy Williamson

Jsp | January 27, 2009 | Compact Disc

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Personnel: Yank Rachell, Big Joe Williams (vocals, guitar); Ted Summitt, Willie James Lacey, Big Bill Broonzy (guitar); Eddie Boyd, Joshua Altheimer, Walter Davis, Blind John Davis (piano); Armand Jump Jackson, Fred Williams, Charles Sanders (drums); Washboard Sam (washboard).
Recording information: Chicago, IL (07/21/1939-12/18/1947).
This four-CD set is the perfect companion and complement to JSP's The Original Sonny Boy Williamson, Vol. 1, covering the blues harp legend's final eight years. John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson (aka Sonny Boy Williamson I) has, until fairly recently, been the odd man out in the story of Chicago blues stars, at least in terms of how history and posterity treated him. Having died in 1948, long before the significance of the blues or his work was recognized, he receded within the shadow cast by the older yet longer-lived name appropriator Sonny Boy Williamson II (aka Aleck Ford Miller), who got to record for Chess Records into the 1960s, and made it all the way to sessions with the likes of Eric Clapton and even a sadly never fulfilled intersection with the Band. The situation got even more frustrating for scholars when The New York Times, no less (known in the journalism trade as the newspaper of record), in a 1990s article about blues musicians being acknowledged with proper grave markers, obliterated any mention of the existence of John Lee Williamson in the course of telling of Miller/Williamson II's neglect. RCA's efforts at assembling John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson's music ended after two volumes and never got near the 1940s end of his output, and the only other effort to collect his work, by Document Records, was only available piecemeal, as hard to find imports. This set makes up for all of that, covering the man's output from beyond the point of his most well-known record and song, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl."
Williamson had a decade of life beyond that point, and the 104 sides here -- assembling his own credited singles as well as his recordings backing such legends as Yank Rachell and Big Joe Williams -- are well worth hearing. The man's music grew in sophistication and complexity across the 1940s as his lyrical and musical facility advanced. Thus, what starts out as fairly rudimentary Chicago blues, as an outgrowth of Delta blues, soon begins to anticipate and intersect with what became the early Aristocrat and Chess Records sounds of Muddy Waters and Little Walter. You get to hear Williamson turn from typical blues subjects (i.e., women) to topical material about the Second World War, and also start to play off of harder guitar sounds as the '40s go on, and the recordings themselves evolve past the antique feel of those better-known early sides. The tendency, because he died so long ago -- 60-plus years at the time of this release -- is to hear his music as something out of another age, but by the fourth disc in this set you hear Williamson catching some of the same energy and vibe that Leonard Chess latched onto at just about the same time when he heard Walter and Muddy. And in terms of the names associated here, also along for the ride (and, at times, driving) are Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, the ubiquitous Willie Dixon, and Big Maceo, Eddie Boyd, and Washboard Sam. (Indeed, on the basis of the sidemen alone, this set should be considered essential listening.) The sound quality ranges from very good to excellent, and the annotation by Neil Slaven is detailed and thorough, as is the accompanying discography. ~ Bruce Eder

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: January 27, 2009

Style: Blues

Number of Discs: 4

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Label Name: Jsp

UPC: 788065710125

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– More About This Product –

Later Years 1939-1947

Performers Sonny Boy Williamson
Guest Artist(s) Big Joe Williams, Yank Rachell

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: January 27, 2009

Style: Blues

Number of Discs: 4

Stereo/Mono: Stereo

Studio/Mixed/Live: Studio

Label Name: Jsp

UPC: 788065710125


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Honey Bee Blues --
2.I Been Dealing with the Devil --
3.War Time Blues --
4.Train Fare Blues --
5.Decoration Day Blues, No. 2 --
6.New Early in the Morning --
7.Welfare Store Blues --
8.My Little Machine --
9.Jivin' the Blues --
10.Hobo Blues --
11.It Seem Like a Dream --
12.Army Man Blues --
13.38 Pistol Blues --
14.Worried Blues --
15.Biscuit Baking Woman --
16.Insurance Man Blues --
17.Up North Blues (There's a Reason) --
18.Western Union Man --
19.Big Apple Blues --
20.Springtime Blues --
21.My Baby Made a Change --
22.Shotgun Blues --
23.Coal and Iceman Blues --
24.Drink on, Little Girl --
25.Mattie Mae Blues --
26.I'm Gonna Catch You Soon --
0.DISC 2: --
1.Million Years Blues --
2.Shady Grove Blues --
3.Sloppy Drunk Blues --
4.She Was a Dreamer --
5.You Got to Step Back --
6.Ground Hog Blues --
7.Black Panther Blues --
8.Broken Heart Blues --
9.She Don't Love Me That Way --
10.My Black Name Blues --
11.I Have Got to Go --
12.Yellow Yam Blues --
13.Tappin' That Thing --
14.Rainy Day Blues --
15.Peach Tree Blues --
16.She Loves Who She Please --
17.Bye Bye Blues --
18.Loudella Blues --
19.Katy Lee Blues --
20.Throw a Boogie Woogie --
21.North Wind Blues --
22.Please Don't Go --
23.Highway 49 --
24.Someday Baby --
25.Break 'Em on Down --
26.Love Me, Baby --
0.DISC 3: --
1.What's Gettin' Wrong with You --
2.Blues That Made Me Drunk --
3.Come on Baby and Take a Walk --
4.Miss Stella Brown Blues --
5.Desperado Woman Blues --
6.Win the War Blues --
7.Check Up on My Baby Blues --
8.G.M. & O. Blues --
9.We Got to Win --
10.Sonny Boy's Jump --
11.Elevator Woman --
12.Drop Down Blues --
13.Somebody's Been Worryin' --
14.Wanita --
15.Vitamin A --
16.Early in the Morning --
17.Big Boat, The --
18.Stop Breaking Down --
19.You're an Old Lady --
20.Sonny Boy's Cold Chills --
21.Mean Old Highway --
22.Hoodoo Hoodoo --
23.Shake the Boogie --
24.Mellow Chick Swing --
25.Polly Put Your Kettle On --
26.Lacey Belle --
0.DISC 4: --
1.Apple Tree Swing --
2.Baby Please Don't Go --
3.Stack of Dollars --
4.Mellow Apples --
5.Wild Cow Moan --
6.Baby Please Don't Go - (alternate take) --
7.Wonderful Time --
8.Sugar Gal --
9.Willow Tree Gal --
10.Alcohol Blues --
11.Little Girl --
12.Blues About My Baby --
13.No Friend Blues --
14.I Love You for Myself --
15.Bring Another Half a Pint --
16.Southern Dream --
17.Rub a Dub --
18.Better Cut That Out --
19.P Vine Blues --
20.Bad and Weak Hearted Blues --
21.King Biscuit Stomp --
22.I'm a Highway Man --
23.Banta Rooster Blues --
24.Mean Step Father Blues --
25.House Lady Blues --
26.Don't You Leave Me Here --

Editorial Notes

Personnel: Yank Rachell, Big Joe Williams (vocals, guitar); Ted Summitt, Willie James Lacey, Big Bill Broonzy (guitar); Eddie Boyd, Joshua Altheimer, Walter Davis, Blind John Davis (piano); Armand Jump Jackson, Fred Williams, Charles Sanders (drums); Washboard Sam (washboard).
Recording information: Chicago, IL (07/21/1939-12/18/1947).
This four-CD set is the perfect companion and complement to JSP's The Original Sonny Boy Williamson, Vol. 1, covering the blues harp legend's final eight years. John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson (aka Sonny Boy Williamson I) has, until fairly recently, been the odd man out in the story of Chicago blues stars, at least in terms of how history and posterity treated him. Having died in 1948, long before the significance of the blues or his work was recognized, he receded within the shadow cast by the older yet longer-lived name appropriator Sonny Boy Williamson II (aka Aleck Ford Miller), who got to record for Chess Records into the 1960s, and made it all the way to sessions with the likes of Eric Clapton and even a sadly never fulfilled intersection with the Band. The situation got even more frustrating for scholars when The New York Times, no less (known in the journalism trade as the newspaper of record), in a 1990s article about blues musicians being acknowledged with proper grave markers, obliterated any mention of the existence of John Lee Williamson in the course of telling of Miller/Williamson II's neglect. RCA's efforts at assembling John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson's music ended after two volumes and never got near the 1940s end of his output, and the only other effort to collect his work, by Document Records, was only available piecemeal, as hard to find imports. This set makes up for all of that, covering the man's output from beyond the point of his most well-known record and song, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl."
Williamson had a decade of life beyond that point, and the 104 sides here -- assembling his own credited singles as well as his recordings backing such legends as Yank Rachell and Big Joe Williams -- are well worth hearing. The man's music grew in sophistication and complexity across the 1940s as his lyrical and musical facility advanced. Thus, what starts out as fairly rudimentary Chicago blues, as an outgrowth of Delta blues, soon begins to anticipate and intersect with what became the early Aristocrat and Chess Records sounds of Muddy Waters and Little Walter. You get to hear Williamson turn from typical blues subjects (i.e., women) to topical material about the Second World War, and also start to play off of harder guitar sounds as the '40s go on, and the recordings themselves evolve past the antique feel of those better-known early sides. The tendency, because he died so long ago -- 60-plus years at the time of this release -- is to hear his music as something out of another age, but by the fourth disc in this set you hear Williamson catching some of the same energy and vibe that Leonard Chess latched onto at just about the same time when he heard Walter and Muddy. And in terms of the names associated here, also along for the ride (and, at times, driving) are Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, the ubiquitous Willie Dixon, and Big Maceo, Eddie Boyd, and Washboard Sam. (Indeed, on the basis of the sidemen alone, this set should be considered essential listening.) The sound quality ranges from very good to excellent, and the annotation by Neil Slaven is detailed and thorough, as is the accompanying discography. ~ Bruce Eder
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