Sonny Boy Williamson I

The Blues: Chicago 1937-1945

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The first great harmonica player of the modern blues era, Sonny Boy Williamson stood right at the junction of country blues and the rapidly emerging urban blues sound, and Williamson's signature songs like "Good Morning School Girl," "Sugar Mama Blues, " "Ground Hog Blues" and "Stop Breaking Down" became virtual templates for the Chicago blues. His call and response harmonica lines were a huge influence on Little Walter, Junior Wells, Rice Miller (who actually billed himself as Sonny Boy Williamson following the original Williamson's death in 1948) and literally every blues harp player who ever picked up the instrument in the later half of the 20th century. He was also a disarmingly good singer, managing to sound casual and approachable (a trait he may have picked up from Sleepy John Estes, a one-time traveling companion on the Southern juke circuit) even as his harp continually brought the heavy gravel. Williamson recorded over 120 sides for RCA's Bluebird Records between 1937 and 1948, and this two-disc set has most of the essential ones, including the above mentioned template pieces.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:00
2 2:33
3 2:58
4 2:48
5 3:01
6 3:04
7 3:01
8 3:16
9
3:10
10 2:59
11 2:47
12 2:56
13 2:44
14 3:08
15 2:49
16 2:51
17 2:59
18 3:02

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:03
2 3:04
3 3:04
4 3:16
5 2:44
6 2:32
7 2:46
8 2:46
9 2:59
10 2:50
11 2:45
12 2:43
13 2:49
14 2:41
15 3:03
16 3:00
17 2:57
18 3:11
blue highlight denotes track pick