Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Sonny Boy Williamson Vol 2 1938 - 1939

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Available as a download on iTunes


Sonny Boy Williamson


Sonny Boy Williamson
01 - My baby I`ve been your slave Listen
02 - Whiskey headed blues Listen
03 - Lord, oh lord blues Listen
04 - You give an account Listen
05 - Shannon Street blues Listen
06 - You`ve been foolin` round town Listen
07 - Deep down in the ground Listen
08 - Number five blues Listen
09 - Christmas morning blues Listen
10 - Susie-Q Listen
11 - Blue bird blues - part 2 Listen
12 - Little girl blues Listen
13 - Low down ways Listen
14 - Goodbye Red Listen
15 - The right kind of life Listen
16 - Insurance man blues Listen
17 - Rainy day blues Listen
18 - Bad luck blues Listen
19 - My little baby Listen
20 - Doggin` my love around Listen
21 - Little low woman blues Listen
22 - Good for nothing blues Listen
23 - Sugar mama blues no. 2 Listen
24 - Good gravy Listen

Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson, vocal, harmonica.

With contributions by: Walter Davis, piano; Yank Rachell, mandolin; Robert (Nighthawk) Lee McCoy, guitar; Speckled Red, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar.

Genres: Chicago blues, Blues harmonica, Urban Blues

Informative booklet notes by Keith Briggs.
Detailed discography.

From this album's booklet notes:
By 1938 any lingering doubts Bluebird might have had about Sonny Boy Williamson had been laid to rest and they had him in the studio three times that year. Sonny Boy was joined by Big Joe Williams and Yank Rachell during his second session in the studio and it is speculated to be the latter playing guitar on the rather hastily arranged title track My Baby I've Been Your Slave. For the second number Yank Rachell is on his more usual instrument, the Mandolin, to contribute to the crisp backing of Whiskey Headed Blues, a number that has since been given various treatments by artists such as Tommy McClennan and John Lee Hooker. On Shannon Street Sonny Boy describes getting drunk in Jackson and his wife's reaction to the event. Alcohol and Sonny Boy Williamson were not a good mix and he would have increasing problems with it throughout his life. Deep Down In The Ground is built on the base of another song "Stack of Dollars", a song associated with Sleepy John Estes and often performed by Big Joe Williams.

For the next session Sonny Boy Williamson found himself in the recording company of Robert Lee McCoy (Nighthawk) on guitar, Rufus 'Speckled Red' Perryman on piano and an unknown (speculated to be Willie Hatcher) on mandolin. This time round the songs were more of a mixture and Sonny Boy illustrates that both he and his Harmonica have made the transition from a country style of playing to a big city environment sound. On the tracks Little Girl Blues and Low Down Ways it is almost impossible to believe that the same man can be both playing and singing. Other tracks include the swing dance numbers Susie Q, and Goodbye Red which is a reply to Harlem Hamfat's hugely successful "Oh Red!". These upbeat, foot tapping, down-home numbers are balanced by the urban inspired tracks Insurance Man and The Right Kind Of Life.
More innovations were to follow on the 1939 session where Sonny Boy was joined by Walter Davis and Big Bill Broonzy. One of the outstanding tracks Little Low Woman Blues has Sonny Boy playing a high register Harmonica which foreshadows the sound of Jimmy Reed. Big Bill's guitar work is more sophisticated than that of Sonny Boy's previous partners, shown to good effect on the tracks Good For Nothing Blues and Sugar Mama Blues No.2 where his delicate runs and fills almost over-shadow the harmonica. On the final track Good Gravy Big Bill and Sonny Boy spark off each other to perform a bravura performance that really swings.

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