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Sonny Boy Williamson - His Best

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His Best

Sonny Boy Williamson

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While some hardliners will point to his early 1950s Trumpet recordings as his most undiluted work, Sonny Boy's tenure at Chess Records was his longest and most successful and therefore deserves first look for the novice coming to this remarkable bluesman at ground level. This 20-track collection takes 17 tracks from the excellent two-disc Essential Sonny Boy Williamson collection and adds "Sad To Be Alone," "My Younger Days" and an alternate session-second version of "One Way Out" with Buddy Guy on guitar (yes, this is the version that the Allman Brothers used as the blueprint for their cover version) to the final mix. This is another entry into MCA's Chess 50th Anniversary Series and the digital transfers here are exemplary, making this an automatic audio upgrade for those who already have this material in their collection. Because his output for the label was of such a uniformly high quality, virtually everything Williamson put down on tape at the Chess studios could make a final cut on any best of package you'd want to put together on the man. So bemoaning the absence of any track here would be minor critical carping, especially in light of no less than five other Sonny Boy Chess packages still being in print at press time. But if you're only going to own one of them and your wallet tends to shy away from two-disc anthologies, this makes an excellent first purchase.
© Cub Koda /TiVo

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His Best

Sonny Boy Williamson

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1
Good Evening Everybody
00:02:33

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1955 Geffen Records

2
Don't Start Me To Talkin' Single Version
00:02:32

WILLIE DIXON, Producer, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Sonny Boy Williamson, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Muddy Waters, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jimmy Rogers, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Otis Spann, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Below, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1955 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
All My Love In Vain
00:02:46

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1955 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Keep It To Yourself Single Version
00:02:47

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Phil Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1956 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Fattening Frogs For Snakes Single Version
00:02:18

Sonny Boy Williamson, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1957 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
I Don't Know
00:02:23

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1957 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Cross My Heart
00:03:20

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1957 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Born Blind
00:02:31

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1957 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
Ninety Nine
00:02:36

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1957 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Your Funeral And My Trial Single Version
00:02:28

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Phil Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1958 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Keep Your Hands Out Of My Pocket
00:02:47

Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist

℗ 1958 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Sad To Be Alone Stereo Version
00:02:55

WILLIE DIXON, Producer - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Marshall Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1960 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Checkin' Up On My Baby Single Version
00:01:54

WILLIE DIXON, Producer - Sonny Boy Williamson, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Otis Spann, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Robert Lockwood, Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Luther Tucker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Fred Below, Drums, AssociatedPerformer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1960 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Down Child Mono Version
00:02:32

WILLIE DIXON, Producer - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Marshall Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1960 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Nine Below Zero 1961 Single Version
00:03:26

WILLIE DIXON, Producer - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1961 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Bye Bye Bird Mono Version
00:02:31

WILLIE DIXON, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Marshall Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1963 UMG Recordings, Inc.

17
Help Me Mono Version
00:03:06

WILLIE DIXON, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - RALPH BASS, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Marshall Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1963 UMG Recordings, Inc.

18
Bring It On Home Single Version
00:02:34

WILLIE DIXON, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist - Leonard Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1963 UMG Recordings, Inc.

19
My Younger Days Mono Version
00:03:19

WILLIE DIXON, Producer - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Marshall Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1963 UMG Recordings, Inc.

20
One Way Out Mono Version
00:02:47

Marshall Sehorn, ComposerLyricist - ELMORE JAMES, ComposerLyricist - WILLIE DIXON, Producer - Sonny Boy Williamson, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Leonard Chess, Producer - Marshall Chess, Producer

A Geffen Records Release; ℗ 1961 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

While some hardliners will point to his early 1950s Trumpet recordings as his most undiluted work, Sonny Boy's tenure at Chess Records was his longest and most successful and therefore deserves first look for the novice coming to this remarkable bluesman at ground level. This 20-track collection takes 17 tracks from the excellent two-disc Essential Sonny Boy Williamson collection and adds "Sad To Be Alone," "My Younger Days" and an alternate session-second version of "One Way Out" with Buddy Guy on guitar (yes, this is the version that the Allman Brothers used as the blueprint for their cover version) to the final mix. This is another entry into MCA's Chess 50th Anniversary Series and the digital transfers here are exemplary, making this an automatic audio upgrade for those who already have this material in their collection. Because his output for the label was of such a uniformly high quality, virtually everything Williamson put down on tape at the Chess studios could make a final cut on any best of package you'd want to put together on the man. So bemoaning the absence of any track here would be minor critical carping, especially in light of no less than five other Sonny Boy Chess packages still being in print at press time. But if you're only going to own one of them and your wallet tends to shy away from two-disc anthologies, this makes an excellent first purchase.
© Cub Koda /TiVo

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