Saturday, September 17, 2011

Session: January 11, 1963

By the time my friends and I discovered Sonny Boy Williamson via the Sonny Boy Williamson & The Yardbirds LP on Mercury, he’d already been dead for a year. As the folk and blues boom expanded across white suburbia, there were many more treasures to be discovered. Down and Out Blues, Sonny Boy’s initial Checker LP from 1959 was still available, a reissue of his early 50s Trumpet sides came out on Blues Classics, and Chess reissued a number of his singles and other previously unissued material on two LPs aimed squarely at the folkie crowd: The Real Folk Blues and More Real Folk Blues (other artists in this series included Memphis Slim, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf).
     At a four song session in January 1963, Sonny Boy laid down the classics heard here; three of them originally came out on Checker singles, then all four appeared on RFB and MRFB, issued in the years just after Sonny Boy’s death. They were pretty modern sounding for their time, featuring Lafayette Leake prominently on organ and M. T. Murphy on guitar, as well as Milton Rector’s electric bass and Al Duncan’s drums. A few months later, Sonny Boy travelled to Europe with a large contingent of American blues musicians and took the Continent by storm.

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