Big Joe Williams Vol. 2: Complete Recorded Works (1945-1949)

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This CD Album (Physical Format) – BDCD-6004 $18.99 Add to cart
Full Album Download – BDCD-6004 $8.99 Add to cart
1. Drop Down Blues – Big Joe Williams
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2. Somebody’s Been Worryin’ – Big Joe Williams
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3. Wanita – Big Joe Williams
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4. Vitamin A – Big Joe Williams
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5. His Spirit Lives On – Big Joe Williams
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6. Baby Please Don’t Go – Big Joe Williams
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7. Stack O’ Dollars – Big Joe Williams
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8. Mellow Apples – Big Joe Williams
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9. Wild Cow Moan – Big Joe Williams
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10. Pea Vine Blues – Big Joe Williams
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11. Bad And Weakhearted Blues – Big Joe Williams
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12. King Biscuit Stomp – Big Joe Williams
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13. I’m A Highway Man – Big Joe Williams
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14. Banta Rooster Blues – Big Joe Williams
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15. Mean Step Father Blues – Big Joe Williams
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16. House Lady Blues – Big Joe Williams
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17. Don’t You Leave Me Here – Big Joe Williams
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18. Jivin’ Woman – Big Joe Williams
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19. She’s A Married Woman – Big Joe Williams
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20. Walking Blues – Chasey Collins
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21. Atlanta Town – Chasey Collins
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BDCD-6004
Big Joe Williams was a true original; his music was as wayward, volatile and cantankerous as the man himself. Nowhere is this more apparent than on his first two 1935 sessions for Bluebird. He was still playing a 6-string guitar but already his style was unique in its disregard for metre, the spontaneous flurries of mandolin-like strumming and hammered bass runs. He also played with a bottleneck but, again, like no one else. When Henry Townsend joined him on “Somebody’s Been Borrowing That Stuff”, the result was tumultuous, joyous music-making.

The second session added violin (not a one-string fiddle, despite B&GR) and washboard for some of the most individual and exciting music to be heard on Bluebird. “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Stack O’ Dollars” became standards in his repertoire but never sounded like they did here. Chasey Collins’ two tracks from the session are tacked on to the end of Volume 2; “Walking Blues” and “Atlanta Town” draw forth wild instrumental flights from Joe and the violinist.

The marathon 1937 session featuring Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Lee McCoy and Joe was the beginning of an enduring partnership which these CDs celebrate. The Bluebird and Columbia sessions saw Joe and Sonny Boy develop a mutual understanding that, as Paul Oliver has pointed out, presaged a similar partnership between Muddy Waters and Little Walter.

Other joys here include Joe’s tribute to President Roosevelt, “His Spirit Lives On”, released in 1945 on Chicago 103 and his Bullet single from 1949. “Jivin’ Woman” and “She’s A Married Woman” are also known as “Kings Highway and “Meet Me In The Bottom” and, to these ears, do not feature a drummer.

Big Joe doesn’t inspire the awe accorded to Robert Johnson, Son House and Charley Patton but his music is equally rewarding, consistently enjoyable and subtly addictive. With 45 tracks and more than two hours playing time, these CDs are gems.
Neil Slaven
Blues & Rhythm review: Issue 61, June 1991

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This CD Album (Physical Format) – BDCD-6004 $18.99 Add to cart
Full Album Download – BDCD-6004 $8.99 Add to cart
1. Drop Down Blues – Big Joe Williams
$0.99 Add to cart
2. Somebody’s Been Worryin’ – Big Joe Williams
$0.99 Add to cart
3. Wanita – Big Joe Williams
$0.99 Add to cart
4. Vitamin A – Big Joe Williams
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5. His Spirit Lives On – Big Joe Williams
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6. Baby Please Don’t Go – Big Joe Williams
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7. Stack O’ Dollars – Big Joe Williams
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8. Mellow Apples – Big Joe Williams
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9. Wild Cow Moan – Big Joe Williams
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10. Pea Vine Blues – Big Joe Williams
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11. Bad And Weakhearted Blues – Big Joe Williams
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12. King Biscuit Stomp – Big Joe Williams
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13. I’m A Highway Man – Big Joe Williams
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14. Banta Rooster Blues – Big Joe Williams
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15. Mean Step Father Blues – Big Joe Williams
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16. House Lady Blues – Big Joe Williams
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17. Don’t You Leave Me Here – Big Joe Williams
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18. Jivin’ Woman – Big Joe Williams
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19. She’s A Married Woman – Big Joe Williams
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20. Walking Blues – Chasey Collins
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21. Atlanta Town – Chasey Collins
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