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I Did It All

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Album Review

Just in case the lyrics of the loopy strut that gives Chick Willis' umpteenth album its title are too subtle, the cover photo shows the ribald bluesman in a thematically appropriate pose with his guitar. And then, to drive the point home, the album ends with an even longer (and even dirtier) take on the same tune. No, Chick Willis has never been about good taste, bless him, and I Did It All is more of the same: old-school electric rhythm and blues with raunchy lyrics that are good-humored enough never to quite tip over into rank obscenity. As with all of Willis' albums, I Did It All is patchy, with a few songs like "I Love You Sweetheart" that stretch a lightweight, horn-driven Chicago blues vamp on for at least a couple minutes longer than is absolutely necessary. But then there's a song as unexpected and delightfully strange as "Little Old Blues Man," which features kitschy orchestral sweetening balancing an atypically trebly, almost metallic guitar line that occasionally threatens to dissolve into weird post-punk atonality.


Born: 24 September 1934 in Cabiness, GA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Cousin to the late blues ballad singer Chuck Willis, Robert "Chick" Willis is primarily beloved for his ribald, dozens-based rocker "Stoop Down Baby." The guitarist cut his original version in 1972 for tiny La Val Records of Kalamazoo, MI, selling a ton of 45s for the jukebox market only (the tune's lyrics were way too raunchy for airplay). Willis left the military in 1954, hiring on as valet and chauffeur to cousin Chuck, then riding high with his many R&B hits for OKeh Records. At that point,...
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