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John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson HARDCOVER BOOK

John Lee Mitsutoshi Inaba offers the first full-length biography of this key figure in the evolution of the Chicago blues. Interviews with Sonny Boy's family members and his last harmonica student provide new insights into the character of the man as well as the techniques of the musician.

Williamson, one of the well-known blues harmonica players and singers from the golden era of the blues, gets the royal treatment from musicologist Mitsutoshi Inaba, who elevates him as an American musical innovator. Williamson was born in 1914 and nicknamed Sonny Boy by his grandmother in his native Tennessee. When he was 11, his mother gave him a harmonica, sparking endless hours of practice until he could perform locally. Blues fans acknowledge Williamson's supreme talent on the blues harp, which was recorded in the 1937–1938 Aurora sessions and the 1938–1948 Chicago dates. When the singer joined the blues legends of the popular Bluebird Records in its glory days, his clever phrasing and dazzling harp technique sent his fans rushing to buy his more than 120 recorded sides for the Bluebird and RCA Victor labels. He also recorded a smash hit, "Good Morning, School Girl," in 1937. Inaba pays much attention to Williamson's drinking problem, womanizing, and reckless behavior leading to his murder in 1948—maybe too much. Despite Williamson's flaws, Inaba confirms the prickly singer, who transformed down-home country blues into a unique up-tempo urban jump sound, as a genuine folk hero influential in one of America's signature musical forms


Regular Price: $69.99
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