Sunday, 18 September 2016

Sonny Boy Williamson - Chess Masters





































































Side 1:
01. Don't Start Me To Talkin'
02. I Don't Know
03. All My Love In Vain
04. The Key (To Your Door)
05. Keep It To Yourself
06. Dissatisfied

Side 2:
01. Fattening Frogs For Snakes
02. Wake Up Baby
03. Your Funeral And My Trial
04. "99"
05. Cross My Heart
06. Let Me Explain

Side 3:
01. One Way Out
02. Too Young To Die
03. Trust My Baby
04. Checkin' Up On My Baby
05. Sad To Be Alone
06. Got To Move

Side 4:
01. Bring It On Home
02. Down Child
03. Peach Tree
04. That's All I Want
05. Too Old To Think

Download LP1 from here:

http://www1.zippyshare.com/v/NIE2kaH1/file.html

Download LP2 from here:

http://www48.zippyshare.com/v/fk8kaDrp/file.html

As with so many of these early 1980s "Chess Masters" releases on PRT, absolutely no information on the artist or recordings is provided on this 2LP set. Of course the featured artist on this collection is the second Sonny Boy Williamson, whose real name has been thought to be William Miller, Rice Miller, or Aleck Ford. He could have been born in 1894 or maybe 1909. It's pretty certain that he was earning a living as a bluesman from the 1920s onward, and in 1936 he formed a long lasting partnership with guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood.

In the 1940s while working on the "King Biscuit Time" radio show in Helena Arkansas he started calling himself "Sonny Boy Williamson" after the well known and influential Chicago based singer / harmonica player John Lee Williamson. It may have been an attempt to deliberately mislead the radio audience, but when the original Sonny Boy was murdered in 1948, the second "Sonny Boy" (who was in fact the older man) was left with the name.

His recording career started with Trumpet Records, Jackson, Mississippi in early 1951 and he recorded for this label until November 1954. Sonny Boy's first Chess recording session took place on the 12th August 1955, backed by the Muddy Waters band. Two tracks from this session, "Don't Start Me To Talkin'" and "All My Love In Vain" were released on Sonny Boy's first Checker single, the first of seventeen that he would release on the Chess subsidiary label.

O.K. sad sacks, here's the facts on the tracks that this album lacks!

First off here's the tracks with recording date and original release number:

01. Don't Start Me To Talkin' - 12th August 1955 - Checker 824
02. I Don't Know - 8th February 1957 - Checker 864
03. All My Love In Vain - 12th August 1955 - Checker 824
04. The Key (To Your Door) - 7th August 1956 - Checker 847
05. Keep It To Yourself - 7th August 1956 - Checker 847
06. Dissatisfied - 1st September 1957 - Checker 910
07. Fattening Frogs For Snakes - 8th February 1957 - Checker 864
08. Wake Up Baby - 27th March 1958 - Checker 894
09. Your Funeral And My Trial - 27th March 1958 - Checker 894
10. "99" - 1st September 1957 - Checker LP 1437
11. Cross My Heart - 1st September 1957 - Checker 910
12. Let Me Explain - 24th January 1956 - Checker 834
13. One Way Out - 30th April 1964 - Chess LP 1503
14. Too Young To Die - 14th December 1960 - Chess LP 1503
15. Trust My Baby - 15th September 1960 - Checker 963
16. Checkin' Up On My Baby - 14th April 1960 - Chess LP 1503
17. Sad To Be Alone - 30th January 1960 - Checker 943
18. Got To Move - 11th January 1963 - Chess LP 1503
19. Bring It On Home - 11th January 1963 - Checker 1134
20. Down Child - 15th September 1960 - Checker 1134
21. Peach Tree - June 1960 - Chess LP 1503
22. That's All I Want - 8th September 1961 - Chess LP 1503
23. Too Old To Think - 8th September 1961 - Chess LP 1503

Session details:

All sides recorded in Chicago with Sonny Boy Williamson on vocals and harmonica.

Don't Start Me Talkin' (Checker 824)
All My Love In Vain (Checker 824)
Recorded 12th August, 1955. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Let Me Explain (Checker 834)
Recorded 24th January, 1956. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

The Key (To Your Door) (Checker 847)
Keep It To Yourself (Checker 847)
Recorded 7th August, 1956. Additional personnel: Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

I Don't Know (Checker 864)
Fattening Frogs For Snakes (Checker 864)
Recorded 8th February, 1957. Additional personnel: Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Dissatisfied (Checker 910)
"99" (Checker LP 1437)
Cross My Heart (Checker 910)
Recorded 1st September, 1957. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Wake Up Baby (Checker 894)
Your Funeral And My Trial (Checker 894)
Recorded 27th March 1958. Additional personnel: Lafayette Leake (piano); Robert Lockwood and Eugene Pierson (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Sad To Be Alone (Checker 943)
Recorded 30th January, 1960. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Checkin' Up On My Baby (Chess LP 1503)
Recorded 14th April, 1960. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Unknown (electric bass); Fred Below (drums).

Peach Tree (Chess LP 1503)
Recorded June, 1960. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano);  Eddie King and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Trust My Baby (Checker 963)
Down Child (Checker 1134)
Recorded 15th September, 1960. Additional personnel: Lafayette Leake (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Too Young To Die (Chess LP 1503)
Recorded 14th December, 1960. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Odie Payne (drums).

That's All I Want (Chess LP 1503)
Too Old To Think (Chess LP 1503)
Recorded 8th September, 1961. Additional personnel: Otis Spann (piano); Robert Lockwood and Luther Tucker (guitars); Willie Dixon (bass); Fred Below (drums).

Got To Move (Chess LP 1503)
Bring It On Home (Checker 1134)
Recorded 11th January, 1963. Additional personnel: Lafayette Leake or Billy Emerson (organ); Matt Murphy (guitar); Milton Rector (electric bass); Al Duncan (drums).

One Way Out (Chess LP 1503)
Recorded 30th April, 1964. Additional personnel: Lafayette Leake (piano); Buddy Guy (guitar); Jack Myers (electric bass); Clifton James (drums).


Original release details:

Don't Start Me Talkin' / All My Love In Vain (Checker 824) was released in September 1955.

Let Me Explain (b/w Your Imagination) (Checker 834) was released in March 1956.

Keep It To Yourself / The Key (To Your Door) (Checker 847) was released in October 1956.

Fattening Frogs For Snakes / I Don't Know (Checker 864) was released in June 1957.

Your Funeral And My Trial / Wake Up Baby (Checker 894) was released in May 1958.

Dissatisfied / Cross My Heart (Checker 910) was released in December 1958.

It's Sad To Be Alone was the B-Side of The Goat, Checker 943, released in January 1960.

Trust My Baby (b/w Too Close Together) (Checker 963) was released in October 1960.

Bring It On Home / Down Child (Checker 1134) was released in February 1966.

"99" is an alternate take of "Ninety Nine" which was released as the B-Side of "Born Blind" (Checker 883) in February 1958. "99" was released on Checker LP 1437 "Down And Out Blues" in 1959.

Checkin' Up On My Baby, Peach Tree, Too Young To Die, That's All I Want, Too Old To Think, Got To Move, One Way Out, were all first released on Chess LP 1053 "Sonny Boy Williamson - The Real Folk Blues" in January 1966.

You can find El Enmascarado's rip of a 78 rpm issue of Sonny Boy's first record for Checker here:

http://bebopwinorip.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/dont-start-me-talkin-all-my-love-in.html

In fact here they be, Sonny Boy's first and considerably successful sides on Checker:










And to finish off, here's the cover of the only Sonny Boy Williamson CD I possess, from the Chess Legendary Masters series. Like the other CDs in this series it's in superb sound quality. If you ever come across any of these CDs in your local hepcat record shop, or in a jumble sale, buy 'em.



Note the bowler hat - Sonny adopted a rather eccentric interpretation of the English gentleman style during his British tours in 1963/64. He recorded with The Animals, The Yardbirds and Chris Barber during this time and also made a recording in London in April 1965 with a band that included Brian Auger and Jimmy Page. He died the following month back home in the USA.

8 comments:

erasmus said...

wow. fantastic post; made so by your extra effort and research. much appreciated!

erasmus said...

here's the info you provided, made convenient for anyone who may want to have it.

boogiewoody said...

Thank you Erasmus! That's a great idea - perhaps I'll do that with the remaining Chess Masters series LPs I still have to post.

Anonymous said...

Got to admit i've never been a fan of SBW Mark 2. Even so your attention to detail,the work involved in assembling it all for this post is outstanding. Cheers,Zdtch.

boogiewoody said...

I've always liked Sonny Boy Mark 2's Checker/ Chess stuff, although not as much as Muddy, Little Walter or Howlin' Wolf. These "Chess Masters" sets often have indifferent sound quality as well as a lack of information. This one's not quite a "Best Of ..." either as there is no "Nine Below Zero" or "Help Me".

The CD I have (from the 1990s) does have excellent sound quality and Sonny's music definitely benefits from that.

boogiewoody said...

Great comment left by Bruce on the El Enmascarado post of Sonny Boy's first 78rpm disc for Checker. So interesting that I've copied and pasted it into this comment so that all you Sonny Boy fans see it!

"Thanks so very much! The more Sonny Boy II the better...
Many blessings on ya, great job always my friend..
When I did the blues Delta tour on my own 10 day tour I drove deep in to the Delta South and thru cornfields and there it was The Man's tomb stone off a side of the road grave yard...

I stayed a good while... On the way home, off Highway 61
I pulled off, to the left bridge bringing me to the small downward town a across the bridge in Arkansas, and found the block and address where the great man died penniless ... the building was practically down, close to a lot... Now they hold a blues festival in that small town...

also a great Sonnyboy II exhibit the Clarksdale, MS Museum by the bus depot where Muddy, and so many others departed town for Chicago!
One amazinr=e thing after another... well worth your time and drive!"

- Thanks Bruce!

Anonymous said...

Massive thanks for this one, Bebop, and for all details on the recordings. Rice Miller Rocks!

Bob Norfolk said...

Thanks. Don't have to copy my own LP's now.