Sonny Boy Williamson Vol 3 1939-1941
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Sonny Boy Williamson
Complete Recorded Works 5 May 1937 – 12 November 1947
Vol 3: (21st July 1939 to 4th April 1941)
Featuring the recordings of:
Sonny Boy Williamson, vocal / harmonica; Walter Davis, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar. Sonny Boy Williamson, vocal / harmonica; Joshua Altheimer, piano; Fred Williams, drums. Sonny Boy Williamson, vocal / harmonica; Blind John Davis, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; probably William Mitchell, imitation bass.
Genres: Blues, Chicago Blues, Madison County, Tennessee Blues, Chicago Blues, Blues Harmonica, Blues Piano, Blues Guitar
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. The opening eleven tracks on this Document Records Sonny Boy Williamson album represent the greater part of his only studio appearance in 1939. Sonny Boy was again accompanied by Big Bill Broonzy on guitar and Walter Davis on piano. The first track T.B. Blues is a sombre recording of Victoria Spivey’s influential 1929 song. In Good Gal Blues Sonny Boy complains about how much singing he has to do; “Lost my voice, didn’t do nothin’ but make a lot of noise” registering a mild disapproval at the length of the session but if so he was back on fine form with a report on the heavyweight boxing fight between Joe Louis and John Henry. Other themes explored are the prison inspired tracks New Jail House Blues and Life Time Blues. Big Bill Broonzy, again, proves his worth on the fast and jivey track Tell Me Baby a song much favoured by blues singers. The session ends with Honey Bee one of two separate songs with this title recorded by Sonny Boy. It was May 1940 before Sonny Boy returned to the recording studio. This time he was accompanied by pianist Josh Altheimer and the fairly basic drumming skills of Fred Williams. The session kicks off with one of Sonny Boy‘s greatest recordings Dealing With The Devil, (later covered by several musicians, most notably; British rhythm & Blues great, John Mayal), which includes a chillingly prophetic reference to an ice-pick, later to be the lethal instrument of his own demise. With the outbreak of war in Europe Sonny Boy recorded the track War Time Blues inspired by a news reel. Decoration Day No.2 reprises one of Sonny Boy‘s earlier hits and Welfare Store Blues, with its references to Roosevelt, pinch-back soldier coats and tripe, is an updating of the flood blues “Red Cross Store” associated with Walter Roland and Lead Belly. The session was rounded off with My Little Machine and Jivin’ The Blues. Big Bill Broonzy was back for the last session to appear on this album. Recorded in 1940, they are joined by Blind John Davis on piano and possibly William Mitchell playing an imitation string bass. Western Union Man has Sonny Boy waiting for a message from his wife Lacey Belle and humorously speculating on the reasons for its delay. Shotgun Blues has more than a touch of Big Joe Williams to it and the signature Well, well vocal effect of Peetie Wheatstraw on My Baby Made A Change.Keith Briggs Copyright 1991 Document Records.