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Down and Out Blues

Sonny Boy Williamson II

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Album Review

Retaining photographer Don Bronstein's cover shot of a disheveled bum lying on the sidewalk (some former Chess artist, perhaps?) Sonny Boy Williamson's original 1959 album made it to digital reissue but has now been supplanted by MCA's exhaustive The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson. Still, for a budget price, there are a dozen unforgettable tracks: "Don't Start Me to Talkin'," and his Checker debut; "All My Love in Vain," "Wake Up Baby," "99," "Cross My Heart," "Let Me Explain," and "The Key (To Your Door)."

Biography

Born: December 05, 1899 in Glendora, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

Sonny Boy Williamson was, in many ways, the ultimate blues legend. By the time of his death in 1965, he had been around long enough to have played with Robert Johnson at the start of his career and Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Robbie Robertson at the end of it. In between, he drank a lot of whiskey, hoboed around the country, had a successful radio show for 15 years, toured Europe to great acclaim and simply wrote, played and sang some of the greatest blues ever etched into black phonograph records....
Full bio