Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) – King Biscuit Time 1989

Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) – King Biscuit Time 1989
Live KFFA broadcast from 1965.

Blues

King Biscuit Time features Sonny Boy’s early Trumpet sides from 1951. The original “Eyesight to the Blind,” “Nine Below Zero” and “Mighty Long Time” are Sonny Boy at his very best. Added bonuses include Williamson backing Elmore James on his original recording of “Dust My Broom” and a live KFFA broadcast from 1965.
By Cub Koda, All Music Guide.
**
Sonny Boy Williamson was one of the most influential of the early blues harmonica players. KING BISCUIT TIME refers to his popular 15-minute radio show broadcast which, beginning in 1938, was sponsored by the Interstate Grocery Company, and originated out of Helena, Arkansas every afternoon at 12:45 p.m. over radio station KFFA.

Recorded in 1951, many of the selections on KING BISCUIT TIME were originally issued as 78s on the Trumpet label, while others were taken directly from his radio show. KING BISCUIT TIME includes Elmore James’ original recording of “Dust My Broom” for the Trumpet label. There is also a complete transcription of a “King Biscuit Time” radio program, taped shortly before Williamson’s death on May 26, 1965.
**
Aleck “Rice” Miller, Sonny Boy Williamson II, was around long enough to have played with Robert Johnson at one end of his career, and with Eric Clapton at the other. He was born at the tail end of the 19th century in Glendora, Mississippi, he taught the basics of blues harmonica to a young Howlin’ Wolf, and he was present the night Robert Johnson was poisoned.

And even though he took his moniker from the younger Tennessee bluesman John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Miller’s style was nothing like Williamson’s.

In fact, no-one really sounded like Rice Miller. His raspy vocal delivery was sly, world-weary, and delightfully evil, and his inimitable harp-playing relied on short, rhythmic bursts one minute and powerful, passionate blowing the next. The liner notes to a 1960s LP of his stated with disturbing seriousness that only a man who had long since sold his soul to the devil in exchange for not having to breathe while performing could sing and play the way Miller did.
And Rice Miller was perhaps the best songwriter the blues has ever seen, displaying an attention to detail which is rare in the blues. His songs were full of mordant wit, with largely autobiographical lyrics that truly hold up to the scrutiny of the printed page.

This CD collects most of Miller’s earliest recordings, his magnificent 1951 Trumpet sides. The raw original versions of several songs that whe would later record for Chess are here, including “Cross My Heart”, “Nine Below Zero”, “Too Close Together”, and the classic “Eyesight To The Blind”. And since Miller was already in his early 50s at the time and had established a style of his own many years before, these performances are every bit as impressive as his later Chess sides.

Miller is backed by drums, piano, bass and electric guitar, and slide guitar legend Elmore James is credited as one of the guitarists on several tracks, alongside pianist Willie Love and the “eternal sideman”, Joe Willie Wilkins. Wilkins taught B.B. King guitar in the 40s, and recorded with Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Elmore James, Roosevelt Sykes and several others.
The fidelity here doesn’t match Miller’s Chess sides, but there is so much power and grit in these sixty year old recordings that it really doesn’t matter all that much.

This CD reissue also includes Elmore James’ first single, the famous rendition of Robert Johnson’s “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom”, which features Rice Miller on harp, as well as a thirteen-minute KFFA broadcast from 1965, the year Rice Miller died. That one includes his versions on “V-8 Ford”, “Right Now”, “Come Go With Me”, and T-Bone Walker’s “They Call It Stormy Monday”.

“King Biscuit Time” is a tremendous collection of Sonny Boy in his prime, and a must-have for any and all fans of blues harmonica.
Highly recommended.
By Docendo Discimus.
**
Aleck “Rice” Miller, Sonny Boy Williamson II, was around long enough to have played with Robert Johnson at one end of his career, and with Eric Clapton at the other.
More than ten years Johnson’s senior, Miller was probably born at the tail end of the 19th century in Glendora, Mississippi. He taught the basics of blues harmonica to a young Howlin’ Wolf, and he was present the night Robert Johnson was poisoned.
And even though he took his moniker from the younger Tennessee bluesman John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Miller’s style was nothing like Williamson’s, and he was a much better singer and one of the best and most original songwriters the blues has ever seen.
In fact, no-one really sounded like Rice Miller.
His raspy vocal delivery was sly, evil and world-weary, and his harp-playing was full of short, rhythmic bursts one minute and powerful, impassioned blowing the next. His songs were chock full of mordant wit, with largely autobiographical lyrics that hold up to the scrutiny of the printed page, and this CD collects his magnificent 1951 Trumpet sides, including the original, raw takes on several songs that whe would later record for Chess, “Cross My Heart”, “Nine Below Zero”, “Too Close Together”, and the classic “Eyesight To The Blind” among them.
He is backed by drums, piano, bass and electric guitar, and slide guitar legend Elmore James is credited as one of the guitarists on several tracks, along with Willie Love and the “eternal sideman”, Joe Willie Wilkins, who taught B.B. King guitar in the 40s, and recorded with Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, Elmore James, Roosevelt Sykes and several others.
The fidelity here doesn’t match his Chess sides, but there is so much power and grit in these 58 year old recordings, and several songs rank among Miller’s very best. And this CD reissue includes Elmore James’ first single, a rendition of Robert Johnson’s “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom”, which features Rice Miller on harp, and a thirteen-minute KFFA broadcast from 1965, the year Miller died. That one includes Miller’s takes on “V-8 Ford”, “Right Now”, “Come Go With Me”, and T-Bone Walker’s “They Call It Stormy Monday”.
This is a great document, and a must-have for serious fans of blues harmonica.
**
For hearing the man born as Alec (Rice) Miller as he had rounded into near-complete game shape, in the years immediately preceding the seminal sides he would cut for Chess beginning in the mid-to-late 1950s, there is no better package than this of Sonny Boy Williamson’s incandescent, embryonic recordings for the ancient Trumpet label. Many of these songs would get the Sonny Boy makeover when he re-cut them during his Chess years, and it’s intriguing to compare between the Trumpet originals and the Chess refineries of such signature songs as “Eyesight To The Blind,” “Cross My Heart,” “Nine Below Zero,” “Mr. Down Child,” and “Mighty Long Time.” Then again, the tandem treat is to hear a good enough dollop of some of Sonny Boy’s more personal material, particularly the slightly haunting “West Memphis Blues,” which he wrote about the fire that actually burned down the house he had bought with his wife.
Then, there are the bonuses: one of the last broadcasts of the legendary “King Biscuit Time” on which Sonny Boy would appear before his death; and perhaps the earliest known version Elmore James would cut of his signature “Dust My Broom,” this one with Sonny Boy (who was long reputed to have tricked him into cutting it for Trumpet) sliding in with some fills showing he was a deft an accompanist/partner as he was a harmonica virtuoso. Accompanying the cantankerously poetic Sonny Boy, mostly, are such legends of Memphis/Helena blues as guitarist Joe Willie Wilkins (Robert Jr. Lockwood he ain’t, but for laying a sensible support and spitting out the occasional fill and run he acquits his own self very nicely), bassist Cliff Bivens, drummer Frock, and pianist Dave Campbell, and they deliver yeoman’s work.
By BlueDuke.
**
Rice Miller- (Vocals, Harmonica)
Cliff Bivens- (Vocals)
Joe Willie Wilkins- (Guitar)
David Campbell, Clarence Lonnie- (Piano)
Cliff Bivens- (Bass)
Frock- (Drums)
**
01. Do It If You Wanna 2:31
02. Cool, Cool Blues 2:45
03. Come On Back Home 2:47
04. Stop Crying 2:56
05. Eyesight To The Blind 3:04
06. West Memphis Blues 2:51
07. I Cross My Heart 2:43
08. Crazy About You Baby 3:02
09. Nine Below Zero 2:51
10. Mighty Long Time 2:58
11. She Brought Life Back To The Dead 2:32
12. Stop Now Baby 2:44
13. Mr. Downchild 2:29
14. Sonny Boy’s Christmas Blues 2:36
15. Pontiac Blues 2:42
16. Too Close Together 2:34
17. Radio Program (KFFA): V-8 Ford/Stormy Monday/Right Now/Come Go [Live] 13:08
18. Dust My Broom 2:44
**


NoPassword
*
DLink
*
Please Donate

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: