Cool Cool Blues: The Classic Sides 1951-1954

Cool Cool Blues: The Classic Sides 1951-1954

by Sonny Boy Williamson [II]
     
 

Rice Miller (or Alec or Aleck Miller -- everything about this blues great is somewhat of a mystery) probably didn't need to take the name of the original Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee Williamson) to get noticed, since in many ways he was the better musician, but Miller seemed to revel in confusion, at least when it came to biographical facts, so for whatever reason,… See more details below

Overview

Rice Miller (or Alec or Aleck Miller -- everything about this blues great is somewhat of a mystery) probably didn't need to take the name of the original Sonny Boy Williamson (John Lee Williamson) to get noticed, since in many ways he was the better musician, but Miller seemed to revel in confusion, at least when it came to biographical facts, so for whatever reason, blues history has two Sonny Boy Williamsons. Like the first Williamson, Miller was a harmonica player, but he really sounded nothing like his adopted namesake, favoring a light, soaring, almost horn-like sound on the instrument. He was also a natural songwriter, and his blues-based compositions show a sharp attention to detail unusual in a genre built largely on cliché and a handful of repeated patterns. This four-disc collection brings together all of his first recordings, done for Lillian McMurry's Trumpet Records, a tiny Jackson, MS, label that issued Williamson's sides from 1951 until 1955, at which time his contract was bought out by Chicago's Chess Records, who then began issuing his sides on the Checker imprint. From the first track here, the sparse and urgent "Eyesight to the Blind," it is obvious that Williamson was something special, with a clear vision of what he wanted to do, and song after song here exhibits a rough and wild joy, walking the blues side of the street with a loose-limbed swagger. Particularly striking is "Mighty Long Time," a duet of sorts featuring Williamson on vocals and harmonica, and Cliff Givens of the Southern Sons Gospel Quartet on vocal bass. Givens' sung bassline gives the tune an odd, eerie, and atmospheric edge, and it is simply a remarkable recording. The great slide guitarist Elmore James also shows up on several cuts, including the delightfully realized "Pontiac Blues," and Williamson adds his harp to the first-ever version of James' classic "Dust My Broom." Many of the tracks here feature Williamson in his role as a sideman, adding harmonica textures to recordings by James, Big Joe Williams, Luther Huff, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Bobo Thomas, Jerry McCain, Willie Love, Sherman "Blues" Johnson, Tiny Kennedy, and Wally Mercer, making this set a stunning survey of early-'50s country blues. Williamson's Checker sides were better recorded, but the ragged skill at work on these Trumpet recordings really shouldn't be missed. Without going to a Delta juke joint on a hot Saturday night, you can't get much closer to the center of the blues than this.

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Product Details

Release Date:
03/14/2006
Label:
Jsp Records
UPC:
0788065776626
catalogNumber:
7766
Rank:
117511

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. Eyesight to the Blind
  2. Crazy About You Baby
  3. Stop Crying
  4. Do It If You Wanna
  5. Cool, Cool Blues
  6. Come on Back Home
  7. I Cross My Heart
  8. West Memphis Blues
  9. Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues
  10. Pontiac Blues
  11. Mighty Long Time
  12. Nine Below Zero
  13. She Brought Life Back to the Dead
  14. She Brought Life Back to the Dead
  15. Too Close Together
  16. Stop Now Baby
  17. Mr. Down Child
  18. Cat Hop
  19. Gettin' out of Town
  20. Red Hot Kisses
  21. Going in Your Direction
  22. Empty Bedroom
  23. Boppin' with Sonny
  24. From the Bottom
  25. Ni Night by Myself

Disc 2

  1. Mama Don't Allow Me
  2. Delta Blues
  3. Overhauling Blues
  4. Whistling Pines
  5. Friends and Pals
  6. Juanita
  7. She Left Me a Mule
  8. Bad Heart Blues
  9. Dirty Disposition
  10. 1951 Blues
  11. Bull Dog Blues
  12. Rosalee
  13. My Baby Boogies All the Time  - Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
  14. I Wonder  - Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
  15. Gotta Find My Baby  - Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
  16. Make a Little Love  - Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup
  17. Catfish Blues
  18. Dust My Broom  - Elmore James
  19. East of the Sun
  20. Wine-O-Wine
  21. Stay out of Automobiles
  22. Middle of the Night
  23. Love to Make Up
  24. Crazy 'Bout That Mess
  25. Fall Guy

Disc 3

  1. Take It Easy Baby
  2. Little Car Blues
  3. Everybody's Fishing
  4. My Own Boogie
  5. Feed My Body to the Fisher
  6. Falling Rain
  7. Vanity Dresser Boogie
  8. Seventy Four Blues
  9. 21 Minutes to Nine
  10. Shady Lane Blues
  11. Nelson Street Blues
  12. V-8 Ford
  13. Shout Brother, Shout
  14. Way Back  - Willie Love
  15. Pretty Baby Blues
  16. Sugar Mama
  17. Hot Fish  - Sherman Johnson
  18. Lost in Korea  - Sherman Johnson
  19. Early in the Morning Baby
  20. Stange Kind of Feeling
  21. Blues Disease
  22. Don't Lay This Job on Me
  23. Have You Heard About the Farmer's Daughter
  24. Too Old to Get Married
  25. If You Don't Mean Business
  26. Hey, Miss Lula

Disc 4

  1. She's Crazy
  2. 309
  3. Sonny's Rhythm
  4. City of New Orleans
  5. Keep It to Yourself
  6. Going in Your Direction
  7. Clowning with the World
  8. I Ain't Beggin' Nobody
  9. Shuckin' Mama
  10. From the Bottom
  11. She's Crazy
  12. Sonny's Rhythm
  13. Keep It to Yourself
  14. Going in Your Direction
  15. From the Bottom
  16. I Ain't Beggin' Nobody
  17. From the Bottom
  18. Gotta Find My Baby
  19. Gotta Find My Baby
  20. Worried Blues
  21. Lonesome World Blues
  22. Wonderful Baby
  23. Willie Mae
  24. Worried Blues
  25. Shout Brother, Shout
  26. Willie Mae

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sonny Boy Williamson [II]   Primary Artist
Willie Love   Piano,Vocals
Jerry "Boogie" McCain   Harmonica,Vocals
Big Joe Williams   Guitar,Vocals
James Williams   Guitar
Tiny Kennedy   Vocals
Rusty Alfred   Drums
Junior Blackman   Drums
Milton Campbell   Guitar
Christopher Collins   Guitar
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Guitar,Vocals
Bill Fort   Tenor Saxophone
Herman Fowlkes   Bass
Cliff Givens   Bass,Vocals
T.J. Green   Bass
Robert Hamp   Tenor Saxophone
Buck Henson   Bass
Lonnie Holmes   Guitar
Duke Huddleston   Tenor Saxophone
Luther Huff   Guitar,Vocals
Percy Huff   Guitar
Elmore James   Guitar,Vocals
B.B. King   Guitar
Richard "Dickie Boy" Lillie   Tenor Saxophone
Walter McCain   Drums
Calvin Newborn   Guitar
Phineas Newborn   Piano
Raz Roseby   Bass
Richard Sanders   Baritone Saxophone
Wilburn Steinberg   Bass
Houston Stokes   Drums
Bobo "Slim" Thomas   Guitar,Vocals
J.V. Turner   Guitar
Alex Wallace   Drums
Leonard Ware   Bass
Carlton Wells   Saxophone
Joe Willie Wilkins   Guitar
Bernard Williams   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Lester Williams   Guitar
Ford Nelson   Piano
Johnny Morgan   Bass
Joe Dyson   Drums
J.W. Walker   Piano
Carl "Wimpy" Jones   Guitar
Wally Mercer   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Cliff Givens   Contributor
Neil Slaven   Liner Notes

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