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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Big Joe Williams - Hand Me Down My Old Walking Stick

This disc is drawn from tapes made solo by Big Joe Williams in October of 1968, in London for Liberty Records, using his usual jerry-rigged nine-string guitar with a pickup. The resulting session, a mix of numbers improvised on the spot and established part of his repertory (including the obligatory "Baby Please Don't Go"), was one of the recordings that Williams was most pleased with, among the many records that he cut during this era. The material mostly shows him creating spontaneously (including a distinctly bluesy "She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain"), and recreating old songs in a new mode. "Baby Please Don't Go" resembles none of his many other renditions of the piece, or any of the various covers done by white rock and blues performers, with far more animated and intricate playing throughout, Williams making bold, slashing attacks on his instrument. "Everybody's Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" is more mellow and brooding, and closer in spirit to some of his more reflective acoustic blues performances -- but the amplification adds a piercing level of intensity to his slide playing. The balances are a little haywire at times (the engineers don't seem to have found their way properly until "Buffalo," a track on which his rhythm playing is most prominent), thanks to the radical changes in timbre and volume in Williams' playing, but the record is still mesmerizing.

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

is all of your text straight from allmusic.com?

Ansina said...

Great, thanks!