Willie DIXON – Poet of the Blues 1998

Willie DIXON – Poet of the Blues 1998


This CD is a compilation of Willie Dixon songs. It is not coherent, but it has a certain comprehensiveness. Containing seven of the nine songs originally issued as “I Am the Blues” in 1970 it more than representative of what Willie Dixon is about. The 1970 recording featured an all-star band of Chicago bluesmen-Shaky Jake on harmonica, Sunnyland Slim on piano, Johhny Shines playing guitar and Clifton James on drums. Dixon played base, of course, on a recording designed to showcase him playing and singing his songs. The first seven songs on this CD not only represent the best of what we call Chicago blues-they are also songs that define the genre in modern times. These are among the songs that Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Otis Rush, and (dare I say) Mick Jagger and a bunch of Brits made famous. The songs that in turn made those performers famous. Here Dixon plays with his peers to define his own songs. The balance of the CD (and it is a sort of Frankenstein monster collage) comprises tracks by the Big Three Trio. These were recorded between 1947 and 1951, and they are evidence of Dixon’s lyrical ability. (Hence, the title “Poet of the Blues”) These trio tracks are clearly jazz-Dixon on string base with Leonard Caston on piano, Ollie Crawford on guitar, and Hillard Brown playing drums. The nine tracks on this compilation are among the 21 tracks on Columbia Blues/Roots CD called “Willie Dixon: The Big Three.” Regardless of the packaging, this is a fine recording. The 1970 renditions prove Dixon’s inventiveness and genius in the context of the people that really matter. Buy this collection. Or find the two CDs that are its source. If you really love Willie Dixon, look for the Chess collections, too.
By  George H. Soule.
One of blues music’s greatest composers, Willie Dixon was also a strong performer. This Columbia Legacy reissue is a profile of the artist in his post-Chess Records years and is chock full of classics, many of which have been covered by rock bands as well as blues musicians: “Back Door Man,” “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” “Spoonful,” “I Ain’t Superstitious,” “I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man” … the list goes on. For all of his achievements as a composer and performer, relatively little of Dixon’s recorded work is available, particularly from his later years. Poet of the Blues is an excellent introduction as well as a chance to hear many of these classic songs in their original incarnations.
By Genevieve Williams. AMG.
Columbia/Legacy’s Poet of the Blues is a fine 16-track collection that spotlights Willie Dixon’s own recordings of such blues standards as “Back Door Man,” “I Can’t Quit You Babe,” “Spoonful,” “The Little Red Rooster” and “I Ain’t Sperstitious,” plus some lesser-known originals like “If the Sea Was Whiskey,” “O.C. Bounce,” “Money Tree Blues,” “Juice-Head Bartender” and “Signifying Monkey.” Many of these songs were recorded with his early trio, the Big Three, and while they’re of historical interest, they’re not quite as good as his Chess recordings. Nevertheless, this is a good, concise sampler of his Columbia recordings for anyone curious about this period of Dixon’s career.
By Thom Owens, All Music Guide.
Johnny Shines- Guitar
Sunnyland Slim- Piano
Ollie Crawford- Guitar
Hillard Brown- Drums
Charles Sanders- Drums
The Big Three Trio- Vocals
Clifton James- Drums
Willie Dixon- Arranger, Composer, Vocals, Bass (Upright), String Bass
01. Back Door Man 6:08
02. I Can’t Quit You Baby 6:41
03. The Seventh Son 4:16
04. Spoonful 4:56
05. I Ain’t Superstitious 4:04
06. I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man 4:49
07. Little Red Rooster 3:37
08. Big 3 Stomp 3:05
09. I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Monkey Man 2:58
10. It’s All Over Now 2:38
11. If The Sea Was Whiskey 3:04
12. O.C. Bounce 2:18
13. Money Tree Blues 2:44
14. Cool Kind Woman Blues 2:20
15. Juice-Head Bartender 2:46
16. Signifying Monkey 2:54

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