Happy Birthday To John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson & Eric Clapton

 

 

 

John Lee (Sonny Boy) Williamson – Better Cut That Out – 1948

 

 

 

Biography

 

” Easily the most important harmonica player of the prewar era, John Lee Williamson almost single-handedly made the humble mouth organ a worthy lead instrument for blues bands — leading the way for the amazing innovations of Little Walter and a platoon of others to follow. If not for his tragic murder in 1948 while on his way home from a Chicago gin mill, Williamson would doubtless have been right there alongside them, exploring new and exciting directions.

  It can safely be noted that Williamson made the most of his limited time on the planet. Already a harp virtuoso in his teens, the first Sonny Boy (Rice Miller would adopt the same moniker down in the Delta) learned from Hammie Nixon and Noah Lewis and rambled with Sleepy John Estes and Yank Rachell before settling in Chicago in 1934.

  Williamson‘s extreme versatility and consistent ingenuity won him a Bluebird recording contract in 1937. Under the direction of the ubiquitous Lester Melrose, Sonny Boy Williamson recorded prolifically for Victor both as a leader and behind others in the vast Melrose stable (including Robert Lee McCoy and Big Joe Williams, who in turn played on some of Williamson‘s sides).

  Williamson commenced his sensational recording career with a resounding bang. His first vocal offering on Bluebird was the seminal “Good Morning School Girl,” covered countless times across the decades. That same auspicious date also produced “Sugar Mama Blues” and “Blue Bird Blues,” both of them every bit as classic in their own right.

The next year brought more gems, including “Decoration Blues” and “Whiskey Headed Woman Blues.” The output of 1939 included “T.B. Blues” and “Tell Me Baby,” while Williamson cut “My Little Machine” and “Jivin’ the Blues” in 1940. Jimmy Rogers apparently took note of Williamson‘s “Sloppy Drunk Blues,” cut with pianist Blind John Davis and bassist Ransom Knowling in 1941; Rogers adapted the tune in storming fashion for Chess in 1954. The mother lode of 1941 also included “Ground Hog Blues” and “My Black Name,” while the popular “Stop Breaking Down” (1945) found the harpist backed by guitarist Tampa Red and pianist ” Big Maceo.”Continue reading

 

 

Discography

 

 

Sonny Boy Williamson and Memphis Slim in Paris 1963 Sonny Boy Williamson and Memphis Slim in Paris    
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Father of Blues Harmonica
2006 Father of Blues Harmonica Golden Stars / Goldies  
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  Sounds of Music Pres. Sonny Boy Williamson   Sounds of Music Pres. Sonny Boy Williamson Mag  
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  Sonny Boy Williamson   Sonny Boy Williamson    
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  The Blues of Sonny Boy Williamson   The Blues of Sonny Boy Williamson Storyville  
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More videos

 

 

 

    Here is a small taste of Eric Clapton , while we direct the interested reader to a unique birthday tribute to Mr Clapton that can be found here .

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Sonny Boy & Eric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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