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Pradinis puslapis W Sonny Boy Williamson - Chicago Blues
Sonny Boy Williamson - Chicago Blues
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Sonny Boy Williamson may refer to either of two 20th-century American blues harmonica players:

  • Sonny Boy Williamson I (1914–1948), John Lee Curtis Williamson, "The Original Sonny Boy Williamson", born in Tennessee and associated with Bluebird Records and pre-war blues
  • Sonny Boy Williamson II (date unconfirmed–1965), Aleck "Rice" Miller, born in Mississippi and associated with Checker Records and post-war blues

Sonny Boy Williamson I (1914–1948), John Lee Curtis Williamson, “The Original Sonny Boy Williamson”, born in Tennessee and associated with Bluebird Records

Career

He was born near Jackson, Tennessee in 1914. His original harmonica recordings were considered to be in the country blues style, but he soon demonstrated skill at making harmonica a lead instrument for the blues, and popularized the instrument for the first time in a more urban blues setting. He has been called "the father of modern blues harp".

His very first recording, "Good Morning, School Girl", was a major hit on the 'race records' market in 1937. He was hugely popular among black audiences throughout the whole southern U.S. as well as in the midwestern industrial cities such as Detroit and his home base in Chicago, and his name was synonymous with the blues harmonica for the next decade. Other well-known recordings of his include "Shake the Boogie", "You Better Cut that Out", "Sloppy Drunk", and "Early in the Morning". Williamson's style influenced a large number of blues harmonica performers, including Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells, Sonny Terry, Little Walter, and Snooky Pryor among many others. He was easily the most widely heard and influential blues harmonica player of his generation. His music was also influential on many of his non-harmonica playing contemporaries and successors, including Muddy Waters (who had played with Williamson in the mid-1940s) and Jimmy Rogers (whose first recording in 1946 was as a harmonica player, performing an uncanny imitation of Williamson's style); Rogers later recorded Williamson's songs "My Little Machine" and "Sloppy Drunk" on Chess, and Waters recorded "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" in September 1963 for his Chess LP Folk Singer and again in the 70s when he moved to Johnny Winter's Blue Sky label on CBS.

He was popular enough that by the 1940s, another blues harp player, Aleck/Alex "Rice" Miller, who was based in Helena, Arkansas, began also using the name Sonny Boy Williamson. John Lee is said to have objected to this, though no legal action took place, possibly due to the fact that Miller did not release any records during Williamson's lifetime, and that Williamson played mainly around the Chicago area, and Miller seldom ventured beyond the Mississippi delta region until after Williamson's death. In 1942, John Lee confronted Miller, but according to guitarist Robert Lockwood, "Big Sonny Boy [Miller] chased Little Sonny Boy [Williamson] away from there. He couldn't play with Rice. Rice Miller could play Sonny Boy's stuff better than he could play it!"

Williamson recorded prolifically both as a bandleader and a sideman over the entire course of his career, mainly for the Bluebird record label, with many early sessions taking place in the ballroom on the top floor of the Leland Hotel in Aurora, Illinois; most later sessions were recorded in Chicago. His final recording session took place in December 1947, backing Big Joe Williams. On June 1, 1948, John Lee Williamson was killed in a mugging on Chicago's South Side, as he walked home from his final performance at The Plantation Club at 31st St. and Giles Ave., a tavern just a block and a half away from his home at 3226 S. Giles. Williamson's final words are reported to have been Lord have mercy.

His legacy has been overshadowed in the post-war blues era by the popularity of the musician who appropriated his name, Rice Miller, who after Williamson's death went on to record many popular blues songs for Chicago's Checker Records label and others, and toured Europe several times during the 'blues revival' in the early 1960s.

Williamson is buried at the former site of The Blairs Chapel Church, southwest of Jackson, Tennessee. In 1991, a red granite marker was purchased by fans and family to mark the site of his burial. A Tennessee historical marker, also placed in 1991, indicates the place of his birth and describes his influence on blues music. The historical marker is located south of Jackson on TN Highway 18, at the corner of Caldwell Road.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980

http://www.myspace.com/tryin2getoffmyfeet

 

 

******************

Sonny Boy Williamson II Aleck "Rice" Miller (date unconfirmed - May 25, 1965), a.k.a. Aleck Ford, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Willie Williamson, Willie Miller, "Little Boy Blue", "The Goat" and "Footsie," was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter.

Biography

Aleck Ford was born on the Sara Jones Plantation near Glendora, Mississippi in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. The date and year of his birth are a matter of some uncertainty. He claimed to have been born on December 5, 1899, but one researcher, David Evans, claims to have found census record evidence that he was born around 1912. Miller's gravestone has his birthdate as March 11, 1908.

He lived and worked with his sharecropper stepfather, Jim Miller, whose last name he soon adopted, and mother, Millie Ford, until the early 1930s. Beginning in the 1930s, he traveled around Mississippi and Arkansas and encountered Big Joe Williams, Elmore James and Robert Lockwood, Jr., also known as Robert Junior Lockwood, who would play guitar on his later Checker Records sides. He was also associated with Robert Johnson during this period.

Miller developed his style and raffish stage persona during these years. Willie Dixon recalled seeing Lockwood and Miller playing for tips in Greenville, Mississippi in the 1930s. He entertained audiences with novelties such inserting one end of the harmonica into his mouth and playing with no hands.

In 1941 Miller was hired to play the King Biscuit Time show, advertising the King Biscuit brand of baking flour on radio station KFFA in Helena, Arkansas with Lockwood.

It was at this point that the radio program's sponsor, Max Moore, began billing Miller as Sonny Boy Williamson, apparently in an attempt to capitalize on the fame of the well known Chicago-based harmonica player and singer John Lee Williamson (see Sonny Boy Williamson I). Although John Lee Williamson was a major blues star who had already released dozens of successful and widely influential records under the name "Sonny Boy Williamson" from 1937 onward, Aleck Miller would later claim to have been the first to use the name, and some blues scholars believe that Miller's assertion he was born in 1899 was a ruse to convince audiences he was old enough to have used the name before John Lee Williamson, who was born in 1914. Whatever the methodology, Miller became commonly known as "Sonny Boy Williamson," (universally distinguished by blues fans and musicians as "Sonny Boy Williamson number two" or "Sonny Boy Williamson the second") and Lockwood and the rest of his band were billed as the King Biscuit Boys.

In 1949 Sonny Boy relocated to West Memphis, AR, and lived with his sister and her husband, Howlin' Wolf. (Later, for Checker Records, he did a parody of Howlin' Wolf entitled "Like Wolf.") Sonny Boy started his own KWEM radio show from 1948 to 1950 selling the elixir Hadacol.

Sonny Boy also brought his King Biscuit musician friends to West Memphis, Elmore James, Houston Stackhouse, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Robert Nighthawk and others to perform on KWEM Radio.

In the 1940s Williamson married Mattie Gordon, who remained his wife until his death.

Williamson's first recording session took place in 1951 for Lillian McMurry of Jackson, Mississippi's Trumpet Records (three years after the death of John Lee Williamson, which for the first time allowed some legitimacy to Miller's carefully worded claim to being "the one and only Sonny Boy Williamson".) McMurry later erected Williamson's headstone, near Tutwiler, Mississippi, in 1977.

When Trumpet went bankrupt in 1955, Sonny Boy's recording contract was yielded to its creditors, who sold it to Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois. Sonny Boy had begun developing a following in Chicago beginning in 1953, when he appeared there as a member of Elmore James's band. It was during his Chess years that he enjoyed his greatest success and acclaim, recording about 70 songs for Chess subsidiary Checker Records from 1955 to 1964. In the early 1960s he toured Europe several times during the height of the British blues craze, recording with The Yardbirds and The Animals, and appearing on several TV broadcasts throughout Europe. According to the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer of the Gods, while in England Sonny Boy set his hotel room on fire while trying to cook a rabbit in a coffee percolator. During this tour he allegedly stabbed a man during a street fight and left the country abruptly.(Robert Palmer's Deep Blues)

Sonny Boy took a liking to the European fans, and while there had a custom-made, two-tone suit tailored personally for him, along with a bowler hat, matching umbrella, and an attaché case for his harmonicas. One of his final recordings from England, in 1964, featured him singing "I'm Trying To Make London My Home" with Hubert Sumlin providing the guitar. Due to his many years of relating convoluted, highly fictionalized accounts of his life to friends and family, upon his return to the Delta, some expressed disbelief upon hearing of Sonny Boy's touring across the Atlantic, visiting Europe, seeing the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and other landmarks, and recording there.

Upon his return to the U.S., he resumed playing the King Biscuit Time show on KFFA, and performanced around Helena, Arkansas. As fellow musicians Houston Stackhouse and Peck Curtis waited at the KFFA studios for Williamson on May 25, 1965, the 12:15 broadcast time was closing in and Sonny Boy was nowhere in sight. Peck left the radio station and headed out to locate Williamson, and discovered his body in bed at the rooming house where he'd been staying, dead of an apparent heart attack suffered in his sleep the night before.

Williamson is buried on New Africa Rd. just outside Tutwiler, Mississippi at the site of the former Whitman Chapel cemetery. His headstone was provided by Ms. Lillian Mc Murray, owner of Trumpet Records.

Some of his better known songs include "Don't Start Me To Talkin'" (his only major hit, it reached the #3 position on the national Billboard R&B charts in 1955),"Fattenin' Frogs for Snakes", "Keep It To Yourself", "Your Funeral and My Trial", "Bye Bye Bird", "Nine Below Zero", "Help Me", and the infamous "Little Village", with dialogue 'unsuitable for airplay' with Leonard Chess. His song "Eyesight to the Blind" was performed by The Who as a key song in their rock opera Tommy (the only song in that opus not written by a band member) and it was later covered on the Aerosmith album Honkin' on Bobo.[2] His "One Way Out", reworked from Elmore James and recorded twice in the early 1960s, became popularized by The Allman Brothers Band in the early 1970s.

In interviews in The Last Waltz, roots-rockers The Band recount jamming with Miller prior to their initial fame as Bob Dylan's electric backing band, and making never-realized plans to become his backing band.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980

http://www.myspace.com/sonnyboywilliamsontwo

 

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