Willie DIXON and Memphis SLIM – Willie´s Blues 1959

Willie DIXON and Memphis SLIM – Willie´s Blues 1959
1992 Issue.

Jazz

These tunes were recorded in a New Jersey studio, when Willie and Memphis Slim were on a brief “lay-over” in New York between gigs. It only took a few hours to finish, the entire set was completely unrehearsed, they called in three session musicians, tuned-up, and the result was this wonderful 12 song recording of Chicago Blues done with an “After Hours” feel. Nervous is an enjoyable slow romp and Willie stammers and stutters like an anxious suitor would. Good Understanding in bit more up-tempo and features some excellent New Orleans style “walkin’ piano” by Memphis Slim. That’s My Baby is a straight ahead, easy going, number which features some good guitar work, but it’s Willie’s vocals which stand out. Slim’s Thing is the first of the two songs which were not penned by Dixon, and it is REALLY Slim’s Thing. It’s an up-tempo instrumental featuring Slim’s deft piano playing, all of the musicians get a chance to show their stuff, but Willie’s thumping and finger slapping bass is especially rewarding. That’s All I Want Baby is another slow tempo, no nonsense blues tune done well. Don’t You Tell Nobody has a quick tempo and Willie’s “Blues Shouting” style is the highlight on this song. Youth To You is the “stand out” cut on the first side of this recording, and although most people probably wouldn’t recognize this song by this title, well, that’s because it has been done so many times as I Just Want To Make Love To You by such artists as Foghat, etc. Hey, this is just one of WILLIE’S classic tunes, and he KNOWS how to do HIS OWN material!
Sittin’ And Cryin’ The Blues is a slow and soulful ballad with Willie lamenting, while the session sax player plays off of his vocals with some haunting jazzy-bluesy riffs. Built For Comfort is Willie’s “signiture tune,” it’s played without any excess, and then it’s over. Oh, it’ll leave a smile on your face! I Got A Razor is a slow and reflective narrative, and Willie just talks his way through the entire song. Before RAP, this is how talented Black Musicians(as well as talented musicians of other races) “expressed themselves,” and personally I find it much more effective! Go Easy is the second Memphis Slim tune. It’s another instrumental which has a nice, easy flow and features more of Slim’s accomplished “walkin’ piano,” along with some of Willie’s great “gut bucket” bass playing. Move Me is a variation of the Broonzy classic “Rock Me Baby,” and Willie turns this into a throbbing and raunchy affair, which has almost a “smokey strip club” type of aura about it. This is one of those records that they don’t make any longer, and it’s truly a shame that people don’t!

I’d like to say a few things about Willie Dixon. Of anybody, and I mean ANYBODY, in ANY field, I’ve never run across a person who was more real than Willie was! I went to see him in a small club around 1983, and although I virtually never ask for somebody’s autograph, well, I figured that I’d get a chance to speak with him briefly, so I took this LP with me to the show. It was about 100 degrees, his band’s bus was delayed, so he limped up to the stage with a cane in a very slow manner. Then he started talking to the audience about a foundation for all of the Blues artists who were shamelessly ripped off, and not only was his talk both insightful and informative, but that petition of his was signed by VIRTUALLY EVERY seminal musician. After he was done speaking I walked out into the hallway and said, “Mr. Dixon, would you please sign this for me?” It was funny, because he saw that I had an “official” LP of his, but he just kept on staring at me for a minute or two, then he shook his head, signed the LP, and walked away to get ready for the show. When the show started he limped up to the stage again, but when the music started, he tossed the cane down, and delivered the most INSPIRATIONAL live performance that I’ve ever seen, however, throughout the entire show he’d look over at me now and then to see how I was reacting to the performance? I’d say he knew that I KNEW music, and that I also UNDERSTOOD what he was about? As the show went along, virtually everybody in the audience had moved up to the stage, and they were TOTALLY transfixed by Willie’s persona and performance, however, I kept sitting in a small alcove nearby, but he kept looking at me and by now whenever he did, then he seemed to smile and nod as if he knew that he had gotten his message through to me? Yeah, Willie, I’ve always tried to give credit when credit was due, and I will ALWAYS have this record with: From Willie Dixon on the back of it; it might of said a bit more, but Willie was SO REAL, that I FORGOT to tell him WHAT MY NAME was? Actually, I’m glad that I forgot, because it means so much more to ONLY have “From Willie Dixon” without my name getting in the way! Nobody got in Willie’s way; and even Led Zeppelin ended up paying Willie for some tunes of his that they BORROWED, which they hadn’t given him credit for. Hey, Peter Grant got a taste of just how REAL and POWERFUL Willie Dixon was in person, and I think it’s the ONLY time that he and Zeppelin didn’t speak, and quietly PAID somebody what they were owed! Oh, Willie also hooked Chuck Berry up with Chess, and did a few other “things,” too! Yeah, Willie was THAT REAL, THAT AUTHENTIC, and had THAT kind of PRESENCE, and those qualities are very hard to fake! No, you have to EARN and DESERVE things like that, and anybody who met Willie, Knew that he surely had…and THEN SOME!!!
By M.S.Ulbricht.
**
Willie Dixon- Bass Guitar, Vocals
Memphis Slim- Piano
Wally Richardson- Guitar
Al Ashby- Tenor Sax
Harold Ashby- Tenor Sax
Gus Johnson- Drums
**
01. Nervous 3:15
02. Good Understanding 2:15
03. That’s My Baby 3:23
04. Slim’s Thing 3:24
05. That’s All I Want Baby 2:16
06. Don’t You Tell Nobody 2:05
07. Youth To You 3:16
08. Sittin’ And Cryin’ The Blues 3:18
09. Built For Comfort 2:31
10. I Got A Razor 4:11
11. Go Easy 5:51
12. Move Me 3:20
**

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