Friday, August 22, 2014


We’ve got an original and a cover for you here today. “Big Town Play Boy” completes our postings of the outstanding 5 song session from the summer of 1949 shared by Little Johnny Jones and Muddy Waters. The other songs from this session are “Shelby County Blues,” “Screaming and Crying,” “Where’s My Woman Been,” and “Last Time I Fool Around with You.”

A half decade later Chicago stalwart Eddie Taylor picked up Little Johnny’s “Big Town Play Boy” for a Vee-Jay session shared with Jimmy Reed. The results sound a lot like a Jimmy Reed record only with the urgency turned up several notches and featuring some tough soloing by Eddie, and blasting harp from Jimmy throughout.

Little Johnny / Muddy Waters • Big Town Play Boy • 1950

Eddie Taylor • Bigtown Playboy • 1956

Johnny Jones, vocal/piano; Muddy Waters, guitar; Leroy Foster, guitar, bass drum, hi-hat. Chicago, late 
summer 1949

Eddie Taylor, vocal/guitar; Jimmy Reed, harmonica/guitar; Vernell Fournier, drums. Chicago, 5 December 1955


  1. Two great versions and I'd be hard pressed to choose a favourite - maybe the Eddie Taylor has a slight edge. Do you notice how abruptly his recording begins? Until now, I thought my own copy was off, but it seems it was the Vee Jay master all along.

    1. Thanks Marie. When I first heard Eddie Taylor's it was on the orig. VJ 78 c.1969. The recording is so good that with the stereo turned up really loud it sounded like the band was right in the room! Love it. These days, I think Little Johnny's version is my favorite, along with the flip "Shelby County."

    2. Don't know how I missed it when it appeared the first time, but yeah, 'Shelby County' is a quality flipside.