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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Big Joe Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Big Joe Williams. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Delmark 60 Years of Blues - New release review

I just received a new release, Delmark 60 Years of Blues and it's terrific! Opening with Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings and When They Played The Real Blues. John on harp, guitar and vocals drives a hard Chicago line on this super track from Kingsville Jukin'. Really hot! Following this track is Junior Wells and Rock me Baby from the Southside Blues Jam sessions. With Otis Spann on piano, Louis Meyers on guitar, and Wells on vocal and harp, this is a band that is hard to beat. Wells is on top of his game and Spann is one of my all time favorite blues pianists so this track is primo! Lindsey Alexander plays Raffle Ticket with Mike Wheeler on guitar Roosevelt Purifoy laying down some excellent piano. Alexander leads a tight ship on this track released on Been There Done That. Magic Sam plays I Don't Want No Woman, from his Live At The Advant Garde. His guitar work is finely articulated and his vocals are inspired. This track is swinging! Quintus McCormick struts in with Fifty Fifty from Hey Jodie. This funky R&B/Albert King styled blues track gets your butt squirming in your seat. Little Walter is up next with Just Keep Lovin' Her, an alternate track to the one included on The Blues World Of Little Walter. This band includes Muddy Waters and Baby Face Leroy. Prime Little Walter. Giles Corey's Stoned Soul plays Oh Mademoiselle, a rockin blues track with a definite contemporary feel. Corey lays down a funky guitar rhythm along with Marty Sammon on clav, Joewaun Scott on bass, and Rick King on drums. This track will be released on much anticipated Giles Corey's Stoned Soul to be released in 2014. Eddie C. Campbell plays Big World, a jump track from his 2008 release Tear This World Up with full horn section. Campbell's slick guitar work with effects make this a standout track. Big Joe Williams brings 44 Blues, an unreleased tape from 1960. This is an excellent early tape with only Williams on 7 string guitar and vocal. Sharon Lewis & Texas Fire covers Blues Train from the Blues Train. This soul infused track is a real mover. Billy Branch steps up on this track with his distinctive harp sound. Delmark really should be commended for putting this release together in such a manner that it flows nicely from style to style ... cohesive yet diverse. Lurrie Bell plays She's A Good 'un from Blues In My Soul. Bell, a standout contemporary blues guitar player lays down some deep grooves on this well paced track also featuring Roosevelt Purifoy on piano. Playing just behind the beat gives this track a real grip! Mississippi Heat turns it up for Let's Live It Up, with Inetta Visor on vocal, the incredible Pierre Lacocque on harp and especially hot on this track are Giles Corey on guitar, Hambone Cameron on organ, Stephen Howard on bass and Blaze Thomas on drums from the releae Let's Live It Up. Again pacing the release, Detroit Jr. plays on of my favorites from the release, Key To The Highway, accompanying himself on piano from Blues On The Internet. Excellent!! Tail Dragger and an allstar band featuring Lurrie Bell and Kevin Shanahan on guitar, Billy Branch on harp extraordinaire, Bob Stroger on bass and Kenny Smith on drums set the Chicago groove with Tend To Your Business from My Head Is Bald, Live From Friendly's Lounge. Sleepy John Estes contributes Stop That Thing from Live In Japan. This track is yet to be release but will be in 2014. Featuring Estes on guitar and vocal and Hammie Nixon on harp this track is hot! Wrapping the release is Toronzo Cannon and John The Conquer Root from John The Conquer Root. This track successfully blends Jimi with contemporary blues for a truly smoking ending for a super release. Yeah, catch the guitar work on this deal! It's not often that I sing praises (ok, I don't sing much at all) of a compilation, but this is a really cool one! If you haven't got all of these releases already (excecpt the ones not yet released, this is a great sampler for what you have missed and if you do already have them, it's a great cd to put on and play if you want a mix of different great bands. No filler here!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sloppy Drunk - Big Joe Williams and Houston Stackhouse

Joseph Lee Williams (October 16, 1903 – December 17, 1982), billed throughout his career as Big Joe Williams, was an American Delta blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. Performing over four decades, he recorded such songs as "Baby Please Don't Go", "Crawlin' King Snake" and "Peach Orchard Mama" for a variety of record labels, including Bluebird, Delmark, Okeh, Prestige and Vocalion. Williams was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on October 4, 1992. Blues historian Barry Lee Pearson (Sounds Good to Me: The Bluesman's Story, Virginia Piedmont Blues) attempted to document the gritty intensity of the Williams persona in this description: "When I saw him playing at Mike Bloomfield's "blues night" at the Fickle Pickle, Williams was playing an electric nine-string guitar through a small ramshackle amp with a pie plate nailed to it and a beer can dangling against that. When he played, everything rattled but Big Joe himself. The total effect of this incredible apparatus produced the most buzzing, sizzling, African-sounding music I have ever heard". Born in Crawford, Mississippi, Williams as a youth began wandering across the United States busking and playing stores, bars, alleys and work camps. In the early 1920s he worked in the Rabbit Foot Minstrels revue and recorded with the Birmingham Jug Band in 1930 for the Okeh label. In 1934, he was in St. Louis, where he met record producer Lester Melrose who signed him to Bluebird Records in 1935. He stayed with Bluebird for ten years, recording such blues hits as "Baby, Please Don't Go" (1935) and "Crawlin' King Snake" (1941), both songs later covered by many other performers. He also recorded with other blues singers, including Sonny Boy Williamson I, Robert Nighthawk and Peetie Wheatstraw. Williams remained a noted blues artist in the 1950s and 1960s, with his guitar style and vocals becoming popular with folk-blues fans. He recorded for the Trumpet, Delmark, Prestige and Vocalion labels, among others. He became a regular on the concert and coffeehouse circuits, touring Europe and Japan in the late 1960s and early 1970s and performing at major U.S. music festivals. Marc Miller described a 1965 performance in Greenwich Village: "Sandwiched in between the two sets, perhaps as an afterthought, was the bluesman Big Joe Williams (not to be confused with the jazz and rhythm and blues singer Joe Williams who sang with Count Basie). He looked terrible. He had a big bulbous aneuristic protrusion bulging out of his forehead. He was equipped with a beat up old acoustic guitar which I think had nine strings and sundry homemade attachments and a wire hanger contraption around his neck fashioned to hold a kazoo while keeping his hands free to play the guitar. Needless to say, he was a big letdown after the folk rockers. My date and I exchanged pained looks in empathy for what was being done this Delta blues man who was ruefully out of place. After three or four songs the unseen announcer came on the p. a. system and said, "Lets have a big hand for Big Joe Williams, ladies and gentlemen; thank you, Big Joe". But Big Joe wasn't finished. He hadn't given up on the audience, and he ignored the announcer. He continued his set and after each song the announcer came over the p. a. and tried to politely but firmly get Big Joe off the stage. Big Joe was having none of it, and he continued his set with his nine-string acoustic and his kazoo. Long about the sixth or seventh song he got into his groove and started to wail with raggedy slide guitar riffs, powerful voice, as well as intense percussion on the guitar and its various accoutrements. By the end of the set he had that audience of jaded '60s rockers on their feet cheering and applauding vociferously. Our initial pity for him was replaced by wondrous respect. He knew he had it in him to move that audience, and he knew that thousands of watts and hundreds of decibels do not change one iota the basic power of a song". Williams' guitar playing was in the Delta blues style, and yet was unique. He played driving rhythm and virtuosic lead lines simultaneously and sang over it all. He played with picks both on his thumb and index finger, plus his guitar was heavily modified. Williams added a rudimentary electric pick-up, whose wires coiled all over the top of his guitar. He also added three extra strings, creating unison pairs for the first, second and fourth strings. His guitar was usually tuned to Open G, like such: (D2 G2 D3D3 G3 B3B3 D4D4), with a capo placed on the second fret to set the tuning to the key of A. During the 1920s and 1930s, Williams had gradually added these extra strings in order to keep other guitar players from being able to play his guitar. In his later years, he would also occasionally use a 12-string guitar with all strings tuned in unison to Open G. Williams sometimes tuned a six-string guitar to an interesting modification of Open G. In this modified tuning, the bass D string (D2) was replaced with a .08 gauge string and tuned to G4. The resulting tuning was (G4 G2 D3 G3 B3 D4), with the G4 string being used as a melody string. This tuning was used exclusively for slide playing He died December 17, 1982 in Macon, Mississippi. Williams was buried in a private cemetery outside Crawford near the Lowndes County line. His headstone was primarily paid for by friends and partially funded by a collection taken up among musicians at Clifford Antone's nightclub in Austin, Texas, organized by California music writer Dan Forte, and erected through the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund on October 9, 1994. Harmonica virtuoso and one time touring companion of Williams, Charlie Musselwhite, delivered the eulogy at the unveiling. Williams' headstone epitaph, composed by Forte, proclaims him "King of the 9 String Guitar." Remaining funds raised for Williams' memorial were donated by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund to the Delta Blues Museum in order to purchase the last nine-string guitar from Williams' sister Mary May. The guitar purchased by the Museum is actually a 12-string guitar that Williams used in his later days. The last nine-string (a 1950s Kay cutaway converted to Williams' nine-string specifications) is missing at this time. Williams' previous nine-string (converted from a 1944 Gibson L-7) is in the possession of Williams' road agent and fellow traveler, Blewett Thomas. One of Williams' nine-string guitars can be found under the counter of the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago, which is owned by Bob Koester, the founder of Delmark Records. Williams can be seen playing the nine-string guitar in American Folk-Blues Festival: The British Tours, 1963-1966, a 2007 DVD release. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Highway 49 - Big Joe Williams


Joseph Lee Williams (October 16, 1903 – December 17, 1982), billed throughout his career as Big Joe Williams, was an American Delta blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. Performing over four decades, he recorded such songs as "Baby Please Don't Go", "Crawlin' King Snake" and "Peach Orchard Mama" for a variety of record labels, including Bluebird, Delmark, Okeh, Prestige and Vocalion. Williams was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on October 4, 1992.

Blues historian Barry Lee Pearson (Sounds Good to Me: The Bluesman's Story, Virginia Piedmont Blues) attempted to document the gritty intensity of the Williams persona in this description:

"When I saw him playing at Mike Bloomfield's "blues night" at the Fickle Pickle, Williams was playing an electric nine-string guitar through a small ramshackle amp with a pie plate nailed to it and a beer can dangling against that. When he played, everything rattled but Big Joe himself. The total effect of this incredible apparatus produced the most buzzing, sizzling, African-sounding music I have ever heard"Write on our Facebook Wall or post your Photos of great blues events! Here

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baby Please Don't Go - Big Joe Williams


Joseph Lee Williams (October 16, 1903 – December 17, 1982), billed throughout his career as Big Joe Williams, was an American Delta blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. Performing over four decades, he recorded such songs as "Baby Please Don't Go", "Crawlin' King Snake" and "Peach Orchard Mama" for a variety of record labels, including Bluebird, Delmark, Okeh, Prestige and Vocalion. Williams was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on October 4, 1992.

Blues historian Barry Lee Pearson (Sounds Good to Me: The Bluesman's Story, Virginia Piedmont Blues) attempted to document the gritty intensity of the Big Joe persona in this description:

When I saw him playing at Mike Bloomfield's "blues night" at the Fickle Pickle, Williams was playing an electric nine-string guitar through a small ramshackle amp with a pie plate nailed to it and a beer can dangling against that. When he played, everything rattled but Big Joe himself. The total effect of this incredible apparatus produced the most buzzing, sizzling, African-sounding music I have ever heard



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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Low Down Dirty Shame


Joseph Lee Williams (October 16, 1903 – December 17, 1982), billed throughout his career as Big Joe Williams, was an American Delta blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, notable for the distinctive sound of his nine-string guitar. Performing over four decades, he recorded such songs as "Baby Please Don't Go", "Crawlin' King Snake" and "Peach Orchard Mama" for a variety of record labels, including Bluebird, Delmark, Okeh, Prestige and Vocalion. Williams was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame on October 4, 1992.

Blues historian Barry Lee Pearson (Sounds Good to Me: The Bluesman's Story, Virginia Piedmont Blues) attempted to document the gritty intensity of the Big Joe persona in this description:

When I saw him playing at Mike Bloomfield's "blues night" at the Fickle Pickle, Williams was playing an electric nine-string guitar through a small ramshackle amp with a pie plate nailed to it and a beer can dangling against that. When he played, everything rattled but Big Joe himself. The total effect of this incredible apparatus produced the most buzzing, sizzling, African-sounding music I have ever heard.
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