Big Joe Williams
Number three of my Delmark reviews in this newsletter is Big Joe Williams newly released CD “I Got wild.” Recorded in February 1958 in St. Louis and in Chicago in July 1961, Bob Koester set down these 16 song tracks, a short interview and some studio chatter. Joe enjoyed some commercial success back in the 60’s after hooking up with Bob Dylan and ending his Delmark stint, but Bob explains in the liner notes that they remained close friends until Joe returned to spend his latter years back home in Mississippi.
What can be said about Big Joe Williams that has not been said? A blues legend, his mastery of the 9 string guitar was exceptional. This CD shows Joe still well on top of his game. Traditional blues on a 9-string, with a little bass accompaniment on three tracks by Ransom Knowling give us down home roots music as it used to be played in the delta. No fanfare, no big arrangements, no fancy amplification; just a man, his guitar and his blues.
In a CD like this there are no “favorites,” Each song holds it’s own place in blues history and Joe’s vocals and guitar give us a glimpse of were the blues came from. Tracks like the opening “Coffee House Blues” take us to a day less complicated than we live in now. “Studio Blues” lets Joe express himself about his recording studio blues. “She Are My Sunshine” gives us a bluesy take on this folk classic. But as I said, there are no bad tracks here, jisy and amazing set of songs sung and played for us as they have been for over a hundred years, Bravo to Bob Koestner for giving us this music back!