Who was/is Sonny Boy Williamson ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

Sonny Boy Williamson

Although he wasn't on the cutting edge when it came to amplifying his harmonica, John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson had no problem with bringing in an electric guitarist on his postwar RCA Victor sessions, keeping up with the times as Chicago blues got brasher and louder. The discographies claim that Big Bill Broonzy is the axeman on 1947's rollicking Better Cut That Out—a role Big Bill should have been accustomed to by then, since he'd first backed Sonny Boy in the studio in 1939.

Sonny Boy's place in the blues pantheon is a revered one. He was the first man to render the harmonica a full-fledged solo instrument with his boundlessly imaginative, instantly identifiable wailing. All of a sudden, even the local AFM had to bestow its seal of approval on the harmonica (prior to Sonny Boy's emergence, it was considered more of a novelty). "They found what harps could do, a man sellin' all them records," said the late Chicago pianist Sunnyland Slim. "Sonny Boy went down to the Club Georgia and all the people went down to see him, and the Unions put the harps in." 

He was so influential that a legion of disciples hung on his every note and a certain wizened harpist down in the Delta appropriated his name as his own (more about that rascal later). The original Sonny Boy was born March 30, 1914 in Jackson, Tennessee. In his mid-teens, he rambled with fellow bluesmen Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes. At 20 he came to the Windy City, and by 1937 Williamson was a member of A&R man Lester Melrose's recording stable. 

The young harpist made his first session for Bluebird as a leader in May of '37 in Aurora, Illinois (a Chicago suburb); among the fruits of his debut date was the classic Good Morning, School Girl. Williamson was responsible for introducing a fair amount of blues standards-to-be: Sugar Mama Blues, Blue Bird Blues, My Little Machine, Elevator Woman, and his 1947 hit Shake The Boogie to name a few.

Better Cut That Out was a hit for Sonny Boy as well, going to #15 R&B for a week near the end of 1948. Cut November 12 of the previous year with a Chicago band consisting of Broonzy, pianist Blind John Davis, bassist Ransom Knowling, and drummer Judge Riley, the infectious stop-time romp tragically turned out to be the last track Williamson ever cut. He died June 1, 1948 after being viciously beaten in the street—a devastating turn of events for 12-year-old Billy Boy Arnold, who had only recently received his first harmonica lessons from his idol.

"He was such a warm, friendly guy. He told me he'd teach me anything I needed to know," says Arnold. "The third time I came by his house, he had gotten murdered. He was a young guy. He was only 34 when he got killed. I didn't want to be a professional. I just wanted to learn how to do it. I said, 'All I want to do is learn how to play, make the sounds that he made.' And it just snowballed from there."

 

Bill Dahl
Chicago, Illinois

PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP!

Electric Blues 1939-2005. - The Definitive Collection!

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Down And Out Blues (LP, 180g Vinyl) Sonny Boy Williamson: Down And Out Blues (LP, 180g Vinyl) Art-Nr.: LPCAT147

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(Not Now Music) 12 Tracks - Original Checker recordings 1955-1959! The great blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson was on stage until 1965 and was able to come to Europe to influence the British blues boom. Sonny Boy made a name for...
$16.13 $20.16
The Best Of Sonny Boy Williamson (LP, 180g Vinyl, Ltd.) Sonny Boy Williamson: The Best Of Sonny Boy Williamson (LP, 180g... Art-Nr.: LP6017003

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(Storyville) 10 tracks - Remastered Re-issue on 180g vinyl of the original 1965 'Storyville' album - Free digital download of the album included
$26.92 $33.64
Down And Out Blues (LP) Sonny Boy Williamson: Down And Out Blues (LP) Art-Nr.: LPRUM2011136

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(2017/Rumble) 12 tracks.
$17.93 $22.41
More Real Folk Blues (CD) Sonny Boy Williamson: More Real Folk Blues (CD) Art-Nr.: CD579252

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1959-63 'Chess', 34:04/12. Japanese reissue of the original LP
$22.41
Down And Out Blues - In Memorium (CD) Sonny Boy Williamson: Down And Out Blues - In Memorium (CD) Art-Nr.: CDBGO603

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(1950s/60s 'Chess') (65:46/24). Two original LPs on one CD.
$11.18 $18.82
U.K. Blues (CD, Cut-Out) Sonny Boy Williamson: U.K. Blues (CD, Cut-Out) Art-Nr.: CD0611302

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(1963 'Fontana/BYG') (77:07/20) Seine beiden Live-Alben mit Eric Clapton und den Yardbirds bzw. Eric Burdons Animals / his European live sessions.
$11.18 $16.79
More Real Folk Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: More Real Folk Blues Art-Nr.: LPDOL1509

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(2013/Dolchess) 12 tracks. 1959-63 'Chess'.
$12.36
Down And Out Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: Down And Out Blues Art-Nr.: LPDOL1437

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(2013/Dolchess) 12 tracks. 1955-58 'Chess'.
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The Real Folk Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: The Real Folk Blues Art-Nr.: LPDOL1503

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(2013/Dolchess) 12 tracks. 1957-63 'Chess'.
$12.36
Bummer Road Sonny Boy Williamson: Bummer Road Art-Nr.: LPDOL1465

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(2014/DOL) 10 tracks, 140 g vinyl. 1957-60 Chess.
$12.36
One Way Out Sonny Boy Williamson: One Way Out Art-Nr.: LPDOL1452

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(2014/DOL) 15 tracks, 140 g vinyl. 1955-59 Chess..
$12.36
Real Folk Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: Real Folk Blues Art-Nr.: CD579251

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​1957-63 'Chess', 31:51/12. Japanese reissue of the original LP
$12.30 $17.92
Down & Out Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: Down & Out Blues Art-Nr.: CD579250

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1955-58 'Chess'​. 53:37/19. Japanese reissue of the original LP with 7 additional tracks .
$17.69
One Way Out Sonny Boy Williamson: One Way Out Art-Nr.: CD579253

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​1955-59 'Chess', 39:33/15. Japanese reissue of the original LP
$17.69
From The Bottom Sonny Boy Williamson: From The Bottom Art-Nr.: CD250336

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$17.69
The Hunt - Little Vilage 7inch, 45rpm Sonny Boy Williamson: The Hunt - Little Vilage 7inch, 45rpm Art-Nr.: REP23046

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Massiv and electric BLUES STOMPER!
$9.84 $12.30
Down And Out Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: Down And Out Blues Art-Nr.: HIHO14370

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$23.14
Bummer Road Sonny Boy Williamson: Bummer Road Art-Nr.: CD34291

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(1957-60 'Chess') (39:18/11) SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON - hca/voc, OTIS SPANN - pno, LAFAYETTE LEAKE - pno, ROBERT JR. LOCKWOOD - gtr, EDDIE KING MILTON - gtr, WILLIE DIXON - upright bass.
$10.95
Keep It To Ourselves Sonny Boy Williamson: Keep It To Ourselves Art-Nr.: CDSCD4176

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One of the greatest harmonica LPs of all times! SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON - hca/voc, MATT 'GUITAR' MURPHY - acoustic gtr. Special guests: MEMPHIS SLIM - pno, BILLIE STEPNEY - drums.
$21.06
Later Years  (4-CD-Box) Sonny Boy Williamson: Later Years (4-CD-Box) Art-Nr.: CDJSP77101

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(1939-47) (303:51/104) Restexemplare / Last copies.
$17.92
The Real Folk Blues Sonny Boy Williamson: The Real Folk Blues Art-Nr.: LP1503

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(1957-63 'Chess') Pure Pleasure Neuauflage / Re-issue.
$24.71
The Original (4-CD-Box) Sonny Boy Williamson: The Original (4-CD-Box) Art-Nr.: CDJSP7797

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(1937-39) (307:45/100) Restexemplare / Last copies.
$17.92 $28.08
His Best Sonny Boy Williamson: His Best Art-Nr.: CDCHD9377

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The best recordings from one of the greatest musician of his generation, feat. MUDDY WATERS, JIMYM ROGERS, BUDDY GUY, FRED BELOW, MATT MURPHY, OTIS SPANN, LUTHER TUCKER, etc.
$19.04
Cool Cool Blues (4-CD-Box) Sonny Boy Williamson: Cool Cool Blues (4-CD-Box) Art-Nr.: CDJSP7766

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(1951-54) (278:43/102) Die frühen Aufnahmejahre von einem der berühmtesten Blues-Harmonicaspieler aller Zeiten, Sonny Boy Williamson II / The early sides featuring one of the most famous blues harmonica players of all times, Sonny Boy...
$17.92 $28.08
Keep It To Ourselves (LP, 180g Vinyl) Sonny Boy Williamson: Keep It To Ourselves (LP, 180g Vinyl) Art-Nr.: APB036

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one of the most beautiful acoustic harmonica albums, ever, in superb quality. Limited 180 gram edition.
$44.89 $56.11
Portrait Of A Blues Man Sonny Boy Williamson: Portrait Of A Blues Man Art-Nr.: CDCAPR3017

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(1963 'Storyville') (39:05/10) Überspielung von den Originalbändern / extremely fine sound quality, mastered from the original tapes.
$21.29
Live In London (CD) Sonny Boy Williamson & The Yardbirds: Live In London (CD) Art-Nr.: CDLS42020

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-& The Yardbirds (1963 London) (42:18/11)
$11.18
Goin' In Your Direction Sonny Boy Williamson: Goin' In Your Direction Art-Nr.: CDAA801

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(1951-54 'Trumpet') (42:04/15) Drei Takes erstmals erhältlich / three takes previously unreleased; Klasse Harmonica Blues / superb harmonica blues, from way down south w/ BOBO 'SLIM' THOMAS, WILLIE LOVE, ROBERT Jr.LOCKWOOD, B.B.KING, etc.
$11.18 $16.79