Joe Lee “Big Joe” Williams, famous for his emotional singing, his 9 string guitar, and his composition “Baby Please Don't Go,” was not only one of the pioneer Mississippi blues singers/guitarists, but also a talent scout and record producer. Big Joe produced this remarkable set of recordings in his hometown of Crawford, Miss. in 1971 by gathering talented relatives, neighbors, and acquaintances to hopefully present their songs to the wider world. Although belatedly, this CD brings you some of the most moving, pure, and authentic country blues ever put on records. Thanks, Big Joe!
Joe Lee “Big Joe” Williams - vocals & guitar, Austen Pete -vocals and guitar, also plays second guitar behind Big Joe, John “Shortstuff” Macon - vocals & (rattling) guitar, Glover Lee Connor - vocals, Amelia Johnson - vocals
1. Back Home Blues
2. Baby Please Don't Go
3. Saturday Night Women
4. Been In Crawford Too Long
5. Sugar Diabetes Blues
6. Run Here Jailer With The Key
7. Take Me Out Of The Bottom
8. Bird Nest
10. I Walked All Night Long
11. Sugar On The Bottom
12. Bad Luck
13. Checkin' Out
14. My Last Girl - Don't Treat Her Wrong!
15. Can't Listen No More
16. Don't Stay Long
17. I'm Wild About My Jelly Roll
18. Moanin' 'Fo Day
19. I'm Leavin' This Town
20. I Don't Know Why
21. My Baby Stopped Drinking Water
22. Good Times Here, Better Down The Road
23. Shake It Enough For Me
24. Mary Frances
25. My Baby Don't Stand No Foolin'
26. She Have Broken My Heart
“This is one of those things you dream about ‚ a completely unknown Chris Strachwitz session, from almost thirty years ago, featuring Big Joe Williams ‚ one of the all time great bluesmen ‚ on stunning form, complimented by a selection of high quality Mississippi blues from some friends that Big Joe brought together for the purpose.
Big Joe is nothing less that mighty on his seven tracks.... You tend to forget just what an impact this extraordinary man could make ‚ partly because he made so many records, and they weren't all of the same quality ‚ but here he fulfills all expectations ‚ his voice full power and emotion, his guitar mixing driving rhythms with flashes of slide or fingered runs....
The lesser lights may not match up to these standards, but in their own right they have a great deal to offer. Austen Pete seems like the oldest man present, and his music also harks back to a much earlier time... While 'Wild About My Jelly Roll,' with its slide guitar accompaniment, sounds like it could have come straight from a pre-war field trip by Columbia or Victor, 'Take Me Out Of The Bottom' is a version of the song that sometimes goes under the title of a 'Long Haired Doney'... Shortstuff Macon appears on his own on some tracks, with Big Joe's guitar added on others, and also as second guitar behind the big man himself. His style may be a little less archaic than Austin Pete's but it is still nothing but down-home blues.... His guitar might sometimes rattle like a snare drum, and his playing might be rough and unrefined, but he's the authentic article, make no mistake. Glover Lee Connor doesn't play an instrument, but you can see why Big Joe felt he should be recorded ‚ he has a strong, contemporary-sounding (for the time) blues voice. He sounds a bit like Buddy Guy, or maybe Fenton Robinson...
A couple of months before the session, Big Joe had arranged a session of his own, together with Macon and Glover, at a local radio station. Seven tracks from that session are also included here. The music is pretty well as good as on Strachwitz's recordings... its rather compressed quality gives them the feel of older recordings... a very satisfactory bonus to a release that is already very, very welcome indeed.”
(Ray Templeton — Blues & Rhythm)