Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Sonny Boy Williamson Vol 3 1939 - 1941

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Sonny Boy Williamson


Sonny Boy Williamson
01 - T. B. blues Listen
02 - Something going on wrong Listen
03 - Good gal blues Listen
04 - Joe Louis and John Henry blues Listen
05 - Thinking my blues away Listen
06 - I`m not pleasing you Listen
07 - New jail house blues Listen
08 - Life time blues Listen
09 - Miss Ida Lee Listen
10 - Tell me, baby Listen
11 - Honey bee blues Listen
12 - I been dealing with the devil Listen
13 - War time blues Listen
14 - Train fare blues Listen
15 - Decoration day blues no. 2 Listen
16 - New early in the morning Listen
17 - Welfare store blues Listen
18 - My little machine Listen
19 - Jivin` the blues Listen
20 - Western Union man Listen
21 - Big Apple blues Listen
22 - Springtime blues Listen
23 - My baby made a change Listen
24 - Shotgun blues Listen
25 - Coal and iceman blues Listen

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

With contributions by: Walter Davis, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Blind John Davis, piano; Joshua Altheimer piano and others...

Genres: Chicago Blues, Blues Harmonica, Urban Blues

Informative booklet notes by keith Briggs.
Detailed discography.

From this album's booklet notes:
The opening eleven tracks on this Document Records Sonny Boy Williamson CD 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 CD. 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.
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