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Release Info: Sonny Boy Williamson - The Original Sonny Boy Williamson - Recorded Between 1937 and 1939, Released in 2007.
JSP is a reissue label sent by angels to alleviate suffering and dispel ignorance in the world. We know this because JSP has done a fantastic job of compiling remastered blues, jazz, gospel, country, Cajun and western swing recordings in reasonably priced four-CD sets packed with loads of discographical information and insightful liner notes. Released in 2007, JSP's 100-track intensive tribute to Chicago blues harmonica legend John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson (1914-1948) zeroes in on his earliest recorded works, dating from the years 1937-1939. (This is only volume one!) Rather than confining the scope of the retrospective exclusively to 41 titles by musicians with whom he hung out, gigged, and recorded. These are guitarists Big Joe Williams, "Jackson" Joe Williams, Robert Lee "Rambling Bob" McCoy, Henry Townsend, and Elijah Jones, as well as blues mandolin man Yank Rachell and boogie-woogie pianist Speckled Red. Additional support was provided by second chair mandolinist Will Hatcher and the great Big Bill Broonzy. This is where Chicago's modern blues harmonica tradition really began. All of the genre's essential components are firmly in place; the songs tell us everything that needed to be said about living, loving, working, scuffling, and trying to survive in a city whose working class population was largely committed to the meat packing industry during the years immediately preceding the Second World War. This was Sonny BOy Williamson I, not to be confused with Sonny Boy Williamson II, an entirely different individual who lived long enough to make records with British rockers during the '60s. Williamson I was beaten to death on the way home from a gig on the first of June 1948. Posthumously honored and widely imitated, his potent musical legacy is finally getting the sort of careful attention that it has always deserved.
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