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.