Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sonny Boy Williamson (II) – 1951-1953 (Classics, 2004)

After coming into prominence while hosting the King Biscuit Flower Hour on radio, the second of the great Sonny Boy Williamson's (Alex"Rice" Miller) singer, songwriter and harmonica player extraordinairebegan to record singles for the small Mississippi blues label Trumpet Records. Classics brings together three years worth of these 45's in chronological order on this CD. While Williamson's best known for the classics he cut for the Chess label, there is some equally powerful music here with some heavy duty sidemen in tow, like the legendary slide guitarist Elmore James.

Some of Sonny Boy's great songs are heard here in their original incarnations with hits like "Eyesight to the Blind," "Nine Below Zero"and "Mr. Down Child." His trademark super laid-back singing and swooping stinging harmonica punctuate all of the music here. One of the more interesting tunes represented here is "Cat Hop" which finds Sonny Boy trading licks with members of a swing orchestra, proving that as a musician he was much more than a one trick pony.

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