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Absolutely the Best

Big Joe Williams

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Album Review

Big Joe Williams was an eccentric, compelling guitarist who, like Charley Patton and others who came before him, understood that the acoustic guitar had tremendous percussion capabilities. With his patented homemade nine-string guitar, an old Sovereign held together with duct tape, he stomped his way through a kind of African/Delta blues like a driving one-man band. While this collection may not be his "absolute best," it is certainly characteristic and includes two versions of his signature song "Baby Please Don't Go." When he wasn't belting things out, Williams could be a careful and delicate guitar player, as shown here on "Razor Sharp Blues."

Biography

Born: 16 October 1903 in Crawford, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Big Joe Williams may have been the most cantankerous human being who ever walked the earth with guitar in hand. At the same time, he was an incredible blues musician: a gifted songwriter, a powerhouse vocalist, and an exceptionally idiosyncratic guitarist. Despite his deserved reputation as a fighter (documented in Michael Bloomfield's bizarre booklet Me and Big Joe), artists who knew him well treated him as a respected elder statesman. Even so,...
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