At the risk of getting carried away, it's safe to say Willie Dixon's name belongs in the same "Great American Writers" chapter as William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter and the Gershwins.
His blues songs are among the greatest ever recorded: "Spoonful," (performed here by Doug Wainoris) a deliberately cryptic metaphor for people fighting over drugs and alcohol; "Back Door Man," a jarring song about anal sex with the oft-repeated line "the men don't know, but the little girls understand"; "You Shook Me," which is both raucously sexy and cold-sweat frightening; and "Hoochie Coochie Man," a playful expression of extreme macho.
The 14-track "The Songs of Willie Dixon," which was recorded at Big Sound in Portland, Maine in June and July of 1998, is a unique profile of the man from Vicksburg, Miss. as well as a chance to hear many of his best songs in new incarcerations.
Tab Benoit weighs in with "Mellow down Easy"; Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson and Ronnie Earl tear through "My Love Will Never Die," Eddie Kirkland weighs in with "Do Me Right," and many others. It's hard to think of any blues, R&B or even rock 'n' roll musician who hasn't somehow been touched by Dixon's work.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.