Big Joe Williams
I Got Wild
(Delmark (2003) 767)
20 tracks, 62 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: November 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Big Joe Williams could well have told just as vivid and captivating a story as that of Honeyboy Edwards, whose book, The World Don't Owe Me Nothing, is one of the best accounts of life in the Deep South. In fact, Williams was the first traveling bluesman to take Honeyboy under his wing and teach him the ropes of hoboing (Williams' knowledge of the back roads across this country were better than any map). He traveled from coast to coast, from the freezing climes of Canada to the heat and humidity of Florida, and everywhere in between, eventually taking his music to Europe and other countries. While Big Joe didn't his life story or record as often as Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker, he was well-represented and Delmark has just issued a another remarkable document to his pages with I Got Wild. Recorded in 1958 and 1961 in St. Louis and Chicago, these tracks stem from the same sessions that delivered four other Delmark albums, and as it turns out, it's the first new album of Joe's in thirty years. Ransom Knowling's rumbling acoustic bass is heard on three cuts, the throbbing P-Vine Blues, the impromptu Studio Blues, and That Thing's In Town, but if the pair playing together isn't enough, the studio talk is simply amazing with discussions of Big Bill Broonzy, bootlegging, and other blues delights. Williams was a powerful singer who tossed in croaking snorts, shouts, and garbled encouragements, and his guitar playing was as driving a force with crunching rhythms, effective string snaps, and flailing fills, but for as raw and unconventional as he was, his nine-string guitar and voice made for an immediate draw card. Delmark is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and while Bob Koester's label quietly issues fine blues and jazz recordings, it's gems like this that will become recognized classics.
www.delmark.com for more information.
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