Sonny Boy Williamson I

Bluebird Blues [Sony]

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Sony's Bluebird Blues covers the recordings Sonny Boy Williamson made for the Bluebird label in 1937-1938. Williamson was one of the first blues harmonica players to make an impact and his rough and ready style became an inspiration to many other players, most notably Rice Miller (also known as Sonny Boy Williamson), who made off with Williamson's name and style. The original Sonny Boy's vocals are a delight, too. They are tough and raw, but with a hint of humor. The 25 cuts here represent the best of his Bluebird sides and are all exciting and memorable. The best-known track is probably "Good Morning Little School Girl," which was covered by Howlin' Wolf, the Yardbirds, and the Grateful Dead, but there are a whole bunch of songs like "Jivin' the Blues," "Western Union Man," "Elevator Woman," and the harrowing "Deep Down in the Ground" that show off Sonny Boy's original, razor-sharp style. If you are one of the unfortunate blues aficionados who doesn't have any of the original Sonny Boy recordings in your collection, this is a fine place to start.

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