…Williams left behind several folk club recordings from the early '60s, and they make a good contrast to the vast body of studio recordings from the same era. He was evidently at his best playing directly to an audience.
Classic Delta Blues collects 12 cuts Big Joe Williams cut in 1964. For these recordings, he played a standard six-string guitars instead of hauling out his custom nine-string and the effects are pleasant, but not revelatory.–by Thom Owens
A CD reissue of 1958 recordings, it includes four previously unreleased tracks. This is raw but beautiful country-blues, featuring the otherworldly sound of Big Joe's nine-string guitar.
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.
The career of blues legend Big Joe Williams stretches back to the Mississippi Delta of the 1930s and continues up through the 1980s. THE SONET BLUES STORY captures Williams performing in Sweden in 1972. Though not exactly in his prime,Williams plays with his usual boisterous spirit, reeling off classic acoustic Delta blues with a raw, propulsive edge. With only his stomping foot for rhythmic accompaniment, Williams and his guitar offer up a deep, riveting set.
The musical roots of Big Joe Shelton, a 2012 Blues Music Award Nominee, run deep in the rich, dark, rich, soil of the Black Prairies of Northeast Mississippi; the same region that spawned the likes of blues icons Howlin’ Wolf, Big Joe Williams and Bukka White. As a young man Shelton was fortunate in befriending Williams and this friendship greatly influenced his musical sensibility…