Archive for the ‘Chris Smith’ 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.”