CD The Later Years 1939-1947 [Box] * (CD 4332937), Audio Other
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The Later Years 1939-1947 [Box] *

  • 0. DISC 1:
    1. Honey Bee Blues
    2. I Been Dealing with the Devil
    3. War Time Blues
    4. Train Fare Blues
    5. Decoration Day Blues, No. 2
    6. New Early in the Morning
    7. Welfare Store Blues
    8. My Little Machine
    9. Jivin' the Blues
    10. Hobo Blues
    11. It Seem Like a Dream
    12. Army Man Blues
    13. 38 Pistol Blues
    14. Worried Blues
    15. Biscuit Baking Woman
    16. Insurance Man Blues
    17. Up North Blues (There's a Reason)
    18. Western Union Man
    19. Big Apple Blues
    20. Springtime Blues
    21. My Baby Made a Change
    22. Shotgun Blues
    23. Coal and Iceman Blues
    24. Drink on, Little Girl
    25. Mattie Mae Blues
    26. I'm Gonna Catch You Soon
    0. DISC 2:
    1. Million Years Blues
    2. Shady Grove Blues
    3. Sloppy Drunk Blues
    4. She Was a Dreamer
    5. You Got to Step Back
    6. Ground Hog Blues
    7. Black Panther Blues
    8. Broken Heart Blues
    9. She Don't Love Me That Way
    10. My Black Name Blues
    11. I Have Got to Go
    12. Yellow Yam Blues
    13. Tappin' That Thing
    14. Rainy Day Blues
    15. Peach Tree Blues
    16. She Loves Who She Please
    17. Bye Bye Blues
    18. Loudella Blues
    19. Katy Lee Blues
    20. Throw a Boogie Woogie
    21. North Wind Blues
    22. Please Don't Go
    23. Highway 49
    24. Someday Baby
    25. Break 'Em on Down
    26. Love Me, Baby
    0. DISC 3:
    1. What's Gettin' Wrong with You
    2. Blues That Made Me Drunk
    3. Come on Baby and Take a Walk
    4. Miss Stella Brown Blues
    5. Desperado Woman Blues
    6. Win the War Blues
    7. Check Up on My Baby Blues
    8. G.M. & O. Blues
    9. We Got to Win
    10. Sonny Boy's Jump
    11. Elevator Woman
    12. Drop Down Blues
    13. Somebody's Been Worryin'
    14. Wanita
    15. Vitamin A
    16. Early in the Morning
    17. Big Boat, The
    18. Stop Breaking Down
    19. You're an Old Lady
    20. Sonny Boy's Cold Chills
    21. Mean Old Highway
    22. Hoodoo Hoodoo
    23. Shake the Boogie
    24. Mellow Chick Swing
    25. Polly Put Your Kettle On
    26. Lacey Belle
    0. DISC 4:
    1. Apple Tree Swing
    2. Baby Please Don't Go
    3. Stack of Dollars
    4. Mellow Apples
    5. Wild Cow Moan
    6. Baby Please Don't Go - (alternate take)
    7. Wonderful Time
    8. Sugar Gal
    9. Willow Tree Gal
    10. Alcohol Blues
    11. Little Girl
    12. Blues About My Baby
    13. No Friend Blues
    14. I Love You for Myself
    15. Bring Another Half a Pint
    16. Southern Dream
    17. Rub a Dub
    18. Better Cut That Out
    19. P Vine Blues
    20. Bad and Weak Hearted Blues
    21. King Biscuit Stomp
    22. I'm a Highway Man
    23. Banta Rooster Blues
    24. Mean Step Father Blues
    25. House Lady Blues
    26. Don't You Leave Me Here
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 77101

  • Credits

    Personnel: Yank Rachell, Big Joe Williams (vocals, guitar); Ted Summitt, Willie James Lacey, Big Bill Broonzy (guitar); Eddie Boyd, Joshua Altheimer, Walter Davis, Blind John Davis (piano); Armand Jump Jackson, Fred Williams, Charles Sanders (drums); Washboard Sam (washboard).
    Recording information: Chicago, IL (07/21/1939-12/18/1947).
    This four-CD set is the perfect companion and complement to JSP's The Original Sonny Boy Williamson, Vol. 1, covering the blues harp legend's final eight years. John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson (aka Sonny Boy Williamson I) has, until fairly recently, been the odd man out in the story of Chicago blues stars, at least in terms of how history and posterity treated him. Having died in 1948, long before the significance of the blues or his work was recognized, he receded within the shadow cast by the older yet longer-lived name appropriator Sonny Boy Williamson II (aka Aleck Ford Miller), who got to record for Chess Records into the 1960s, and made it all the way to sessions with the likes of Eric Clapton and even a sadly never fulfilled intersection with the Band. The situation got even more frustrating for scholars when The New York Times, no less (known in the journalism trade as the newspaper of record), in a 1990s article about blues musicians being acknowledged with proper grave markers, obliterated any mention of the existence of John Lee Williamson in the course of telling of Miller/Williamson II's neglect. RCA's efforts at assembling John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson's music ended after two volumes and never got near the 1940s end of his output, and the only other effort to collect his work, by Document Records, was only available piecemeal, as hard to find imports. This set makes up for all of that, covering the man's output from beyond the point of his most well-known record and song, "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl."
    Williamson had a decade of life beyond that point, and the 104 sides here -- assembling his own credited singles as well as his recordings backing such legends as Yank Rachell and Big Joe Williams -- are well worth hearing. The man's music grew in sophistication and complexity across the 1940s as his lyrical and musical facility advanced. Thus, what starts out as fairly rudimentary Chicago blues, as an outgrowth of Delta blues, soon begins to anticipate and intersect with what became the early Aristocrat and Chess Records sounds of Muddy Waters and Little Walter. You get to hear Williamson turn from typical blues subjects (i.e., women) to topical material about the Second World War, and also start to play off of harder guitar sounds as the '40s go on, and the recordings themselves evolve past the antique feel of those better-known early sides. The tendency, because he died so long ago -- 60-plus years at the time of this release -- is to hear his music as something out of another age, but by the fourth disc in this set you hear Williamson catching some of the same energy and vibe that Leonard Chess latched onto at just about the same time when he heard Walter and Muddy. And in terms of the names associated here, also along for the ride (and, at times, driving) are Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, the ubiquitous Willie Dixon, and Big Maceo, Eddie Boyd, and Washboard Sam. (Indeed, on the basis of the sidemen alone, this set should be considered essential listening.) The sound quality ranges from very good to excellent, and the annotation by Neil Slaven is detailed and thorough, as is the accompanying discography. ~ Bruce Eder

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