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Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) – One Way Out 1981

Posted in BLUES, Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) on November 28, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) – One Way Out 1981
CH9116 Italy
1990 Issue.

Blues

The harmonica’s not an especially prepossessing object, but in the skilled hands of Sonny Boy Williamson it was an incredibly expressive and versatile instrument. Though the material on One Way Out is mostly pretty obscure, that’s no reason to avoid this collection; 15 killer tracks, packed full of Williamson’s great harp lines and dry, witty vocals, are nothing to sneer at. Things kick off with the classic “Born Blind,” featuring some great interplay between Williamson’s harmonica and Otis Spann’s piano; Williamson jams equally well with guitarists Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers on “Work with Me.” The list of great solos here would include virtually the entire album, but special standouts are on “You Killing Me,” “Don’t Lose Your Eye,” “I Wonder Why,” and “I Know What Love Is All About.” Also keep an ear open for “Like Wolf,” a slower song that stretches its musical tension almost to the breaking point. Williamson’s backing musicians are an all-star cast; along with Spann, Waters, and Rogers, there’s Robert Lockwood Jr., Willie Dixon, and others.
By Genevieve Williams. AMG.
**
Of all the blues greats of the 40s, 50s and 60s, Aleck “Rice” Miller’s output was of the most consistently high quality, and if you’re not completely satisfied by the double-disc MCA/Chess anthology, “The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson”, his four LPs “Down And Out Blues”, “Help Me”, “One Way Out” and “Bummer Road” are all must-own purchases.

On “One Way Out”, Rice Miller is backed by an incredible number of superstar sidemen, including Otis Spann, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Fred Below, Odie Payne, Lafayette Leake, Robert “Jr.” Lockwood, and Willie Dixon.
It may not be as consistently sublime as “Bummer Road” or “Down And Out Blues”, but there are certainly no clunkers either, and several of these songs rank among Miller’s very best.
The album opens with “Born Blind”, a great re-take on his classic 1951 Trumpet single “Eyesight To The Blind” with some wonderful piano playing by Otis Spann. And other highlights include the shuffling “Too Close Together”, the slow “Don’t Lose Your Eye” with its lean arrangement, the fantastic title track (which boasts one of Miller’s best lyrics), and the classic “Keep It To Yourself”.

Rice Miller’s harp playing is superb all the way through, employing his usual barrage of powerful, riffing bursts and nuanced, even subtle, blowing. And his vocals on the song which bears the tounge-in-cheek title “Like Wolf” are indeed uncannily like Howlin’ Wolf’s.
By Docendo Discimus.
**
This collection by Sonny Boy Williamson is no longer a fashionable music style. However, his harmonica and vocals highlight a blues legacy that is worth remembering. Some of the backing features Muddy Walters and Otis Spann. My favourite Sonny Boy track, ‘Help Me’ is missing from the album but there are still enough highlights to keep you interested. All blues fans should have at least one album from Sonny Boy.
By Bob Davis.
(i wonder since when his music is “no longer fashinable music style”… and yet another pearl; “All blues fans should have at least one album from Sonny Boy” says Bob. 1 album :)…
Geez F. Christ. Why don´t u go and run around the block instead bob.)
themonk.
**
Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller)- Harmonica, Vocals
**
A1. Born Blind  2:30
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
Piano- Otis Spann
A2. Work With Me  2:51
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Jimmy Rogers , Muddy Waters
Piano- Otis Spann
A3. You Killing Me  3:26
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Jimmy Rogers , Muddy Waters
Piano- Otis Spann
A4. Keep It To Yourself  2:46
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
A5. Don’t Lose Your Eye  3:03
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
A6. Good Evening Everybody  2:32
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Jimmy Rogers , Muddy Waters
Piano- Otis Spann
A7. Too Close Together  2:11
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
Piano- Lafayette Leake
B1. Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide  2:17
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Odie Payne
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
Piano- Otis Spann
B2. I Wonder Why  1:32
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
B3. This Is My Apartment  2:37
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
B4. One Way Out  1:59
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
Piano- Unidentified*
Written-By- Sonny Boy Williamson , Willie Dixon
B5. Like Wolf  2:48
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
B6. Have You Ever Been In Love  2:51
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
B7. Cool Disposition  2:40
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
Piano- Otis Spann
B8. I Know What Love Is All About  2:37
Bass- Willie Dixon
Drums- Fred Below
Guitar- Luther Tucker , Robert Lockwood Jr.
**

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

Posted in BLUES, Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) on November 19, 2010 by whoisthemonk

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
**

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Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice Miller) – Keep It to Ourselves 1963

Posted in BLUES, Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice MILLER) on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Sonny Boy WILLIAMSON II (Rice Miller) – Keep It to Ourselves 1963
Recorded at Copenhagen, Denmark (11/01/1963).
2001 Issue.

Blues

You know I heard about your racket,
the day I dropped in your town.
If you don’t keep your hand out of my pocket,
I’m gonna have you taken down
**
An intimate 1963 collection of Sonny Boy Williamson in solo and duet (with guitarist Matt Murphy) formats; on three tracks, pianist Memphis Slim hops aboard. This delightful addendum to Williamson’s electric output of the same era was cut in Denmark and first issued on Storyville.
By Bill Dahl.
**
First,don’t confuse Sonny Boy Williamson with Sonny Boy Williamson.I mean,don’t confuse Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller,born Aleck Ford,ca.1897,died May 25,1965),who’s playing here,with Sonny Boy Williamson I,who was younger (born John Lee Williamson,1914-1948) but who recorded in the thirties,whereas the second didn’t record before the end of the fourties.
Both two are among the most essential harmonica players in the blues history,with Sonny Terry ,Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter.
Personnaly,I think that Rice Miller,the guy you’ll listen to on this CD,is my favorite one.This very mysterious man (we still don’t know his real name,Miller or Ford,neither his surname,neither his date of birth,1897,1899,or 1891 ?) was one of the major artists in the Chicago blues style,with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.He created an incredible music,full of roughness,energy and even violence.A music which clearly came from the delta,as Wolf and Muddy,but a very modern one (listen to Sonny Boy’s amazing 50’s recordings).As modern as Muddy,Wolf,or Robert Johnson;the only difference is that he was 15 or 20 years older than them.
Sonny Boy died in his sleep,May 25,1965,of “natural causes”,but surely of too much alcohol.This record was made in Copenhagen,Denmark in 1963.It features the legendary Matt Murphy on acoustic guitar.Sonny Boy’s harp ,sometimes almost vocal-like effects,make me think of great jazz trumpet or trombone players,like Bubber Miley or Joe Nanton.Here are real down home blues,and some essential ones.Listen to the pieces in which Sonny plays alone (“I can’t understand”);listen to his hit,”The sky is crying”(also an Elmore James’ hit). Listen to the guest star,Memphis Slim himself,on “Same girl”.Listen to Sonny’s fascinating voice,surely one of the most expressive in blues.Listen to the great support of drummer’s Bill Stepney.Listen to this exceptionnal blues album,exceptionnal because it’s the only album in which Sonny Boy plays in an “unplugged” contest.If you like it,then jump to his 50’s records.I discovered that his “one way out” CD sadly is out of stock;if you can find an used copy of it,don’t miss it,this is one of the most important blues records of all times.It includes an incredible amount of total masterpieces.Don’t miss this music,because it really swings like mad.
By Jean-Marie Juif.
**
This is a surprisingly excellent recording for its age. The clarity is almost eerie – you can feel the connecting from lung to mouth to harmonica – a portrait in sound of a man’s respiratory system! Okay, okay, that doesn’t sound very appetizing, I know – but we’re not talking country music here. This is true down and dirty blues by one of the great bluesmen of all time. Sonny Boy plays as if the instrument were literally a part of his body (not an original observation, I admit, but I don’t recall where I read it). It is the soul, of course, that gives this work its excitement and depth. The pairing up sessions with Matt Murphy and Memphis Slim are absolutely precious. If you play the harmonica or have an interest in starting a blues collection – this is a great place to begin. It was where I started – and for me the delicious heartbreak of blues music reverberates best with this superb recording. Highly recommendable.
**
With his unerring slur and direct wit, Sonny Boy II, born Rice Miller circa 1897 and dead some 68 years later, is Chicago’s third W: his great Chess albums stand with Wolf or Muddy. These 1963 recordings, culled from two much sparer purist LPs on a Danish label, are late-night visits to the Delta where he saw the light and kicked the bucket, and what they show off above all is his sexy, long-suffering harmonica cry. Where fools like his star pupil James Cotton strain against the dynamic limitations of that little piece of steel, Sonny Boy plays it like he sings it like he talks it–slyly, lethally, whispering complaints, secrets, existential questions, and promises made to be broken to anyone who ventures within earshot. Guitarist Matt Murphy on most cuts and pianist-vocalist Memphis Slim on a few are all the friends he needs. By Robert Christgau.
**
Sonny Boy Williamson- (Vocals, Harmonica);
Matt “Guitar” Murphy- (Guitar);
Memphis Slim- (Piano);
Bill Stephney- (Drums).
**
01. The Sky Is Crying 3:18
02. Slowly Walk Close to Me 3:22
03. Once Upon a Time 3:13
04. Don’t Let Your Right Hand Know 6:12
05. Movin’ Out 3:40
06. Coming Home to You Baby 4:02
07. I Can’t Understand 3:20
08. Same Girl 4:49
09. Gettin’ Together 3:47
10. Why Are You Cryin? 2:52
11. Girl Friends 4:40
12. When the Lights Went Out 4:27
**

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