A comprehensive collection, recorded between 1939 and 1941, which shows the brilliant blues pioneer beginning to make the transition from rural to urban blues. (This is the Sonny Boy Williamson who was murdered in 1948, not the one who toured England with the Yardbirds in 1963).
Everything here is exceptional, including a somber reading of Victoria Spivey's "TV Blues." However, the most ear-opening stuff is from a 1940 session on which a drummer and the brilliant boogie-woogie pianist Joshua Altheimer back Williamson. Here, the beat is paramount, especially in "Dealing With the Devil" and "War Time Blues," and Williamson is clearly laying the groundwork for both the Chicago blues and rock & roll.