another Big Joe Williams review

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another Big Joe Williams review

Postby bighollowtwang » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:06 am

Ok, one more before I go to sleep...since it's playing right now and I haven't listened to this one in a long while.

BIG JOE WILLIAMS Classic Delta Blues (Milestone) ... 8rnc38.jpg

If you're used to Big Joe hammering out his rough songs on a rickety self-modified 9-string guitar, you're in for a surprise. Recorded crisp and clear in 1964, Big Joe is playing a conventional 6-string acoustic here and abandons his personalized thematic songs for a tribute to classic Mississippi blues. The material here is all covers of Charley Patton (Bird's Nest Bound, Pony Blues, Pea Vine Special, Dirt Road Blues, Jinx Blues, Banty Rooster), Robert Johnson (Hellhound On My Trail, Crossroads, Walking Blues, Terraplane Blues), Hambone Willie Newbern (Rollin' and Tumblin') and Skip James (Special Rider). Hardly note-for-note reproductions of the originals, they are delivered in Big Joe's personalized style and played in his usual percussive, string-snapping Spanish tuned style. At times he takes liberties with the lyrics, adding his own personal touches and maintaining his easily recognizable style despite the fact that he is playing an instrument he is not usually identified with.
In my opinion Big Joe stayed unfailingly consistant from the 30's until his death, recording faultless records throughout his entire career...but this one stands out, partly due to the choice of guitar used on the sessions, partly due to the choice of material. Perhaps not entirely representative of Big Joe's sound but nonetheless an excellent CD.
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