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BLUES & GOSPEL

Sonny Boy Williamson -> U.P. Wilson

SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON (Rice Miller, recorded 1951-1965)
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON (John Lee Williamson, recorded 1937-1947)
CHICK WILLIS
RALPH WILLIS
MICHELLE WILLSON
CHARLES WILSON
EDITH WILSON
EDITH & LENA WILSON
JIMMY WILSON
LENA WILSON
ELDER ROMA WILSON & HIS HARMONICA
SMOKEY WILSON
U.P. WILSON
 

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON (Rice Miller, recorded 1951-1965) Arhoolie 310 King Biscuit Time ● CD $12.98
A great collection featuring 16 of Sonny Boy's Trumpet recordings previously issued on Arhoolie 2020 along with 15 minute radio broadcast from KFFA in Helena, Arkansas recorded in the early 60s (previously on an Arhoolie E.P.) plus the original recording of Elmore James' Dust My Broom with Sonny Boy on harmonica.
ELMORE JAMES: Dust My Broom/ SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Come On Back Home/ Cool, Cool Blues/ Crazy About You Baby/ Do It If You Wanna/ Eyesight To The Blind/ I Cross My Heart/ Mighty Long Time/ Mr. Downchild/ Nine Below Zero/ Plus A Kffa 15 Minute Radio Program Which Includes/ Pontiac Blues/ She Brought Life Back To The Dead/ Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues/ Stop Crying/ Stop Now Baby/ Too Close Together/ West Memphis Blues

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON Chess CHD 9377 His Best ● CD $10.98
20 great cuts - Good Evening Everybody/ All My Love In Vain/ Fattening Frogs For Snakes/ Cross My Heart/ Ninety Nine/ Keep Your Hands Out Of My Pocket/ Checkin' Up On My Baby/ Nine Below Zero/ Help Me/ My Younger Days, etc.

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON Chess 112 823 Real Folk Blues/ More Real Folk Blues ● CD $18.98
Two classic LPs from the 60s.
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON: Bring It On Home/ Bye Bye Bird/ Checkin' Up On My Baby/ Close To Me/ Decoration Day/ Dissatisfied/ Down Child/ Goat/ Got To Move/ Help Me/ Hunt/ My Younger Days/ Nine Below Zero/ One Way Out/ Peach Tree/ Sad To Be Alone/ She's My Baby/ Somebody To Help Me/ Stop Right Now/ That's All I Want/ Too Old To Think/ Too Young To Die/ Trust Me Baby/ Trying To Get Back On My Feet

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON Evidence 26071 In Europe ● CD $12.98
14 tracks, 57 minutes, recommended
Compilation of tunes from Sonny Boy's '63 & '64 European treks. The main thing here is a reissue of the "Sonny Boy Williamson & The Yardbirds" tracks (Mercury 21071 from '66), 9 tunes recorded live at the Crawdaddy Club in London 10/63 by the Yardbirds when they still had the seminal guitar of Eric "Slowhand" Clapton (Mr. Downchild/ Do The Weston). The other 5 tracks are from the American Folk/Blues Festivals, recorded in Germany, originally issued on L&R, '63 tracks with Otis Spann, Matt "Guitar" Murphy & Willie Dixon,'64 tracks with Hubert Sumlin, Sunnyland Slim & Dixon.. (GM)

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON (John Lee Williamson, recorded 1937-1947) Document DOCD 5057 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol. 3 ● CD $15.98
The third volume of recordings by this brilliant and immensely influential singer and harmonica player features 25 songs recorded at 3 sessions held between July 1939 and April 1941. The first 11 tracks continues the mammoth 18 track session from 1939 that started on Document 5056. It's not too surprising that, at times, Sonny Boy and his accompanying musicians (Big Bill Broonzy and Walter Davis) sound a bit tired! Still there are some fine performances including his reworking of Victoria Spivey's T.B. Blues, the topical Joe Louis And John Henry and the lyrical Thinking My Blues. The energy level rises on the next session from May 1940 where he is accompanied by the superb piano player Joshua Altheimer and drummer Fred Williams. It includes some classic performances including the powerful Dealing With The Devil with its prophetic image of an ice pick which was the instrument of Sony Boy's murder in 1948. There are a couple of topical songs (War Time Blues & Welfare Store Blues) and a hard driving version of Walter Roland's Early In The Morning with an energy that pointed to the direction Chicago blues was to take in the near future. The energy level isn't quite as high at the next session where Sonny Boy is accompanied by Broonzy, pianist Blind John Davis and imitation bass player William Mitchell but there are some fine performances include some particularly fine harp on Big Apple Blues. Sound quality varies though it is generally satisfactory and there good notes by keith Briggs. (FS)

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON Document DOCD 5058 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol. 4 ● CD $15.98
26 songs, 74 mins, recommended
More fine sides recorded at 6 sessions between April 1941 and July 1945 with a two year hiatus between 1942 and '44 brought about by the first Petrillo recording ban. Most of the tracks feature him with guitar (Big Bill Broonzy, Charlie McCoy,Ted Summit or Bill Sid Cox), piano (usually Blind John Davis) and bass (William Mitchell, Ransom Knowling or Alfred Elkins) plus occasional drums (Jump Jackson) or washboard (Washboard Sam). The music is consistently fine and it's interesting to note how many songs were later covered by other blues singers, often with changed titles. These include Drink On Little Girl/ Million Years Blues/ Sloppy Drunk Blues/ You Got To Step Back/ My Black Name Blues and others. There are a couple of songs relating to the ongoing second world war - Win the War Blues/ Check Up On My Baby Blues and We Got To Win. Some Document collections are too much of the same thing but with Sonny Boy the combination of great singing and playing, interesting songs and sympathetic backup makes for consistently interesting music. (FS)

 
SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON JSP JSPCD 7797 The Original Sonny Boy Williamson, Vol. 1 ● CD $28.98
Four CDs, 100 tracks, essential
The first of two box sets to feature the complete recordings of this brilliant and influential singer and harmonica player including, not only the titles issued under his own name but his accompaniments to his friends and musical associates Robert Lee McCoy, Big Joe Williams, Henry Townsend, Elijah Jones, Yank Rachell, 'Jackson' Joe Williams and Speckled Red. John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson was a wonderful singer with a warm down home style and a brilliant and innovative harmonica player whose playing was to redefine blues harmonica playing until the emergence of Little Walter. His playing, singing and songs were to prove an immense influence on subsequent generations of blues performers and contributed to the ascendancy of the blues scene in Chicago where he was based and there's no doubt he would have been a major figure in the 50s had he not met an untimely demise in 1948. Although some of his most famous songs are based on songs originated by other artists, Sonny Boy invested them with his own distinctive approach which resulted in them being the template for future versions. The 100 tracks here were recorded between May 1937 and July 1939 and are mostly country blues flavored becoming somewhat more urban with the last two sessions - the July 1939 sessions including Chicago veteran Big Bill Broonzy on guitar. Since most of the artists he backs here were musicians he had worked closely with for a number of years the empathy between them is stunning - the guitars intertwining and beautifully echoing the vocal lines. There is just one classic performance after another and it is a testament to Sonny Boy's popularity that although the artists he accompanied turn in stunning performances it's the songs that Sonny Boy recorded that would become standards. Sound quality is excellent and Neil Slaven provides his usual high quality notes within the space limitations. (FS)

 
CHICK WILLIS Collectables 5193 Stoop Down Baby ● CD $11.98
Are you ready for a 21 minute version of Chick's Stoop Down Baby? If so, the man who plays the guitar with his tongue has got a risqué disqué for you. Also has Something To Remember You By/ Things I Used To Do/ Mother Fuyer and more.

 
RALPH WILLIS Document DOCD 5256 Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol 1 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 68 mins, recommended
Ralph Willis was an excellent, obscure, East Coast country blues singer/ guitarist. Originally from Alabama he moved to North Carolina where he came under the influence of Blind Boy Fuller, Brownie McGhee and Buddy Moss and their influence can be heard on his style. He settled in New York in the late 30s and started recording in 1944. His early sides are particularly fine with fluid guitar playing in the Fuller mould and expressive singing. Later recordings often feature a second guitarist (often Brownie McGhee) and/or a bass player which make the rhythms a bit more rigid. On a number of tracks he is accompanied by washboard player Pete Sanders and the result is some delightful country dance music. Willis's songs are mostly original, often based on traditional themes. Sound is good and there are brief notes by Dave Moore. (FS)

 
RALPH WILLIS Document DOCD 5257 Complete Recorded Works, Vol 1 + Complete LEROY DALLAS ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 68 min., very good
Continuing from Volume 1 (Document 5256), this volume contains the rest of Ralph Willis' postwar recordings, beginning with the remainder of the issued Jubilee recordings (see Sequel 749 : "Jumping at the Jubilee" - $15.98 - for 2 more unissued sides), plus Leroy Dallas' complete Sittin' in with recordings & two of Dallas' 1962 Peter Welding recordings. Long time collectors will know some of these Ralph Willis titles from the Blues Classics and King albums. Sonny Terry and/or Brownie McGhee are on hand to help out, especially on Cold Chills and Gonna Hop On Down The Line. Leroy Dallas' 1948 recordings - originally reissued on Blues Classics, PWB and Negro Art albums, are gathered here on CD for the 1st time. Five of these recordings feature pianist Big Chief Ellis & Brownie McGhee on el. gtr, with Ellis' piano at the forefront on Your Sweet Man's Blues and I'm Going Away. The last 2 tracks are from a body of work recorded in 1962 by the late Pete Welding which I hope one day will see the light of day on Testament Records. (EL)

 
MICHELLE WILLSON Bullseye Blues 9550 Evil Gal Blues ● CD $15.98

 
CHARLES WILSON Delmark 771 If Heartaches Were Nickels ● CD $14.98
15 tracks, 61 minutes, excellent
If talking about Charles Wilson's powerful and soulful voice isn't enough to convince you that this is a worthwhile addition to your modern blues collection, maybe mentioning that Carl Weathersby delivers rip-snorting guitar to the proceedings will be what you need. If that doesn't do it, maybe Little Milton's guitar on a couple tracks will move you. Then again, maybe it'll be the selection of material Wilson tackles with a crack band - Cut You A-Loose/ You Belong To Me/ Cadillac Assembly Line/ Next Time You See Me/ I Walked All Night Long, and others. The energy is infectious, the playing is potent modern blues with a touch of delicious soul, and there's an hour of solid enjoyment. Weathersby pulls out the stops on Up At Carl's emulating Albert King's blistering guitar. (CR)

 
CHARLES WILSON Ecko 1002 It's Sweet On The Backstreet ● CD $15.98

 
EDITH WILSON Delmark 637 He May Be Your Man...but He Comes To See ● CD $11.98
Blues 20's style recorded in the 60s with Little Brother Montgomery & The State Street Ramblers, 12 tracks
EDITH WILSON: Easin' Away From Me/ He May Be Your Man/ Hesitating Blues/ Hey! Hey! Boogie/ Lonesome/ Mistreatin' Blues/ My Handy Man Ain't Handy Anymore/ Poppa-mama Blues/ Put A Little Love In Everything You Do/ Slow Creepin' Blues/ That Same Dog/ Twiddlin'

 
EDITH & LENA WILSON Document DOCD 5451 Vol. 2, 1924-1931 ● CD $15.98

 
JIMMY WILSON Official 5256 Jumpin' From Six To Six ● CD $17.98
26 tracks, 69 mins, recommended
Excellent, but problematic, collection of West Coast blues from Wilson who has had very little of his work reissued on CD. He had an R&B hit in 1953 with his version of Tin Pan Alley and recorded the exciting Jumping From Six To Six which has inspired a number of covers. Both of these great songs are featured here. Wilson is a fine singer who first sang with the gospel group The Pilgrim Travelers and his vocals show a strong gospel influence. The recordings here were cut between 1951 and 1961, usually in the company of top West Coast musicians like the great guitarist Lafayette Thomas, sax men Que Martin & Wild Willie Moore and pianist King Solomon. I am particularly fond of his minor key, doomy blues and there are a number of these songs here. Musically this is deserving of an "essential" rating, unfortunately the remastering frequently leaves a lot to be desired and the absence of liner notes or discographical info are regrettable. (FS)

 
LENA WILSON Document DOCD 5443 Vol. 1 : 1922-1924 ● CD $15.98

 
ELDER ROMA WILSON & HIS HARMONICA Arhoolie 429 This Train ● CD $12.98
20 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
What a wonderful album! Blues and gospel fans have long speculated about the incredible 1948 Gotham release Lily Of The Valley/ Better Get Ready by Elder Wilson & Family featuring gospel songs accompanied only by three harmonicas. Some years ago 4 unissued titles from the sessions turned up and then a few years ago Elder Wilson himself was found living in Mississippi and all became clear. The three harmonicas were Elder Wilson himself and his two sons aged 11 and 13. Not only is Elder Wilson still alive but he is singing and playing as well as ever at the age of 84! This wonderful album features all six cuts from 1948 along with 14 new recordings. Wilson's material is mostly traditional gospel though some of them have been given a topical edge as witness Ain't It A Shame. The new recordings are just Wilson and his harp and while I miss the intertwining of the three harmonicas, his singing and playing are stunning. The last couple of cuts feature Elder Wilson at his Church in Abideen, Mississippi - he plays amplified harp here and the singing and encouragement of the congregation results in some spellbinding music. (FS)
ELDER ROMA WILSON: Ain't It A Shame/ Amazing Grace/ Better Get Ready/ Climbing Jacob's Ladder/ Death Ain't Nothing But A Thief And A Robber/ Get Away Jordan/ Give Me My Flowers While I Live/ Gonna Wait Till A Change Come/ Got Just What I Wanted/ Have You Tried Jesus/ He's Alright/ I Don't Care What Skeptics Say/ I'm So Glad, Trouble Won't Last Always/ Lily Of The Valley (Stand By Me)/ Motherless Children/ My Lord's Gonna Move This Wicked Race/ The Lord Will Make A Way, Yes He Will/ This Train/ This Train Is A Clean Train/ This Train Is A Clean Train/ Trouble Everywhere

 
SMOKEY WILSON Blind Pig 5026 88th Street Blues ● CD $15.98
Reissue of 1983 Murray Brothers album from L.A. bluesman Wilson accompanied by Rod Piazza, Honey Piazza, Hollywood Fats, Larry Taylor, Richard Innes.

 
U.P. WILSON Wolf 120.630 Texas Blues Party, Vol 1 - Live At Schooners ● CD $15.98

 

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