Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Joe Williams Country Blues Mastery

Back three decades ago, Samuel Charters produced a series of blues lps for the Swedish Sonet label, The Legacy of the Blues, along with some other blues recordings. Charters is known as both a blues author (The Country Blues, The Poetry of the Blues, Bluesmen) as well as a producer of blues recordings, including the classic Chicago, The Blues Today! and albums by Junior Wells and Buddy Guy to name a few of the artists he recorded. Universal Music, through its Verve imprint has just issued seven of the seven Sonet lps for reissue in a series, The Sonet Blues Story. Six of these are from The Legacy of the Blues series. This is the fourth in a series of posts of my reviews from this series that originally appeared in the June 2006 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 283).

It should be noted that on these Sonet reissues, the playing time is somewhat short. Even those with extra tracks (such as the one reviewed below) do not exceed 45 minutes. Still there is some good to exceptional music to be heard on these. This CD is shown as still available and is available as mp3 files. I received my review copy from the publication.

Big Joe Williams was another great Mississippi bluesman who is best known for Baby Please Don’t Go. A Delta musician who as much as anyone led the life of the traveling bluesman, Williams lived in St. Louis for a period where after Peetie Wheatstraw’s death started playing Wheatsraw’s trademark 9-string guitar. A repertoire that ranged from originals to songs from Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson and Tommy Johnson, Williams played a strong rhythmic style and also sang in a highly exclamatory fashion. This volume, which includes five previously unissued recordings, was a typically fine session by an artist who rarely made a poor recording. Songs include Patton’s Hang it on the Wall, Big Fat Mama and Black Gal You Sure Been Looking Warm. This is another artist who belongs in any blues collection.

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