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Big Joe Williams

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Biografia

Guitarrista, cantor e compositor do Delta Blues, diferenciado pelo som característico de sua guitarra de 12 cordas e seu estilo único de tocar.

É dele a primeira gravação de Baby Please Don’t Go (1935), que se tornou um clássico do blues e rock’n’roll nas interpretações de Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Big Bill Broonzy, Muddy Waters, Mance Lipscomb, Pink Anderson, Bob Dylan, Them, Cuby & the Blizzards, Amboy Dukes, Alvin Lee, The Animals, The Doors, Paul Butterfield, Al Kooper, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Mississippi Fred McDowell, e muitos outros.

Big Joe Williams may have been the most cantankerous human being who ever walked the earth with guitar in hand. At the same time, he was an incredible blues musician: a gifted songwriter, a powerhouse vocalist, and an exceptional idiosyncratic guitarist. Despite his deserved reputation as a fighter (documented in Michael Bloomfield’s bizarre booklet Me and Big Joe), artists who knew him well treated him as a respected elder statesman. Even so, they may not have chosen to play with him, because — as with other older Delta artists — if you played with him you played by his rules.

As protégé David “Honeyboy” Edwards described him, Williams in his early Delta days was a walking musician who played work camps, jukes, store porches, streets, and alleys from New Orleans to Chicago. He recorded through five decades for Vocalion, Okeh, Paramount, Bluebird, Prestige, Delmark, and many others. As a youngster, I met him in Delmark owner Bob Koester’s store, the Jazz Record Mart. At the time, Big Joe was living there when not on his constant travels.

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