FEATURED ARTIST / S
|Sonny Boy Williamson|
Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson, vocal, harmonica.
Includes: Big Maceo, piano; Tampa Red, guitar; Blind John Davis, piano; Big Bill Broonzy, guitar; Big Willie Dixon, stand-up bass; Eddie Boyd, piano; Judge Riley, drums; Ransom Knowling, stand-up bass; and others...
Genres: Blues, Blues Harmonica, Chicago Blues, Urban Blues.
Informative booklet notes by Keith Briggs.
Between 1944 and the end of his career (and life) in 1948, Sonny Boy Williamson had gone from strength to strength. He had already made reference in song to his appreciation of artists like Fats Waller and he seemed determinedly updating his sound. More and more of Sonny Boy's recordings featured a solid up tempo beat, often provided by drummers such as Jump Jackson or Judge Riley, and the guitarists and the pianists that he favoured (Willie Lacy, big Bill Broonzy and Blind John Davis - even Big Maceo and the ever adaptable Tampa Red for one session) were also capable of moving with the times, providing jazzier accompaniments to show off Sonny Boy's ever increasing skills on the harmonica.
For his last sessions Sonny Boy continued the mix as before but now the performances had more punch and a marked, deliberate swing. He still returned to his roots, recording such tracks as Bring Another Half Pint. The term 'swing' seems to have replaced the previous 'jump' in a couple of tracks like Rub A Dub, Polly Put The Kettle On and Mellow Chick Swing.
Having weathered the recording bans and the war years with his popularity unimpaired, Sonny Boy was the undisputed leader and trend setter for blues harmonica players all over the country. Sadly Sonny Boy Williamson would not go onto explore his musical range further. He was murdered on his way from a gig at the Plantation Club on the early morning of 1st June 1948. Attacked and robbed, Sonny Boy managed to get back to his flat. When his wife Lacey Belle opened the door she was confronted by the awful sight of Sonny Boy covered in blood, swaying on his feet. "Lord have mercy" were his final words before slipping into unconsciousness from which he never awoke.
As the five volumes presented on Document of his entire output attest, the legacy and influence of Sonny Boy Williamson 1st, has been pivotal both upon fellow and future blues harmonica players.