Archive for the ‘Sonny Boy Williamson II’ Category

Author: Chris Smith
Source: Juke Blues n45, Autumn 1999, p. 62-67


“Sharing his memories of the two Sonny Boy Williamsons with the readers of ‘Living Blues’, Willie Dixon couldn’t resist supplying a tidy conclusion to Rice Miller’s life: ‘And here’s something: the same day Sonny Boy died, his citizenship came through in London, England.’ It didn’t, but Dixon’s desire to have all the loose ends accounted for says something about Sonny Boy Williamson. It’s because he was a great musician and lyricist that we deem it important to establish the true facts of his life and times as far as possible. Sonny Boy was an enigmatic, ornery character, who was unwilling to be interviewed about his life, but happy to improvise on it when he was relaxed and had a few drinks in him. That doesn’t mean he only peddled fantasy and fabrication; some quite surprising assertions turn out to be probably true. Bill Donoghue’s ongoing research towards a biography seems likely to resolve a number of puzzles, but it’s a fair bet that plenty will remain. Sonny Boy would have liked that; spreading a little confusion was his way of asserting control over his identity. As he once sang, mastering the language by mangling it: There’s a whole lots of peoples is talking, but a mighty few peoples know.”



Author: Paul Oliver

Source: Jazz Monthly July 1965, p. 18-19



“FEW SINGERS in the blues field have so endeared themselves to European audiences as  did Sonny Boy Williamson—(number Two) whose death on May 25th this year was  reported by Chris Strachwitz. Sonny Boy came to Europe with the 1963 American Negro  Folk Blues Festival initiated by Horst Lippmann, little known to the average collector.
Specialists knew his remarkable early recordings for the Trumpet label of Jackson, Mississippi, one of which I played on the B.B.C. about eight years ago, and Chess had released his Down and Out Blues album on which the almost totally erroneous notes by Studs Terkel appeared to lay the beginnings of confusion about the singer which still persists. His tall, gaunt and dignified figure on the stage was the first that most collectors knew of him and his husky voice, his rich harmonica playing and perhaps above all his extraordinary sense of timing and dynamics were a revelation.”