|Lee Jackson||Fishin' in My Pond||Chicago Blues of the 1950's|
|Lee Jackson||I'll Just Keep Walkin||Chicago Blues of the 1950's|
|Lee Jackson||Change of Love||Blues Party at Jump Jackson’s|
|Sunnyland Slim||Depression Blues||Blues Party at Jump Jackson’s|
|Roosevelt Sykes||Your Will Is Mine||Sings The Blues|
|Roosevelt Sykes||Gone With The Wind||Sings The Blues|
|Little Johnnie Jones||Prison Bound||45|
|Little Johnnie Jones||Don't You Lie To Me||45|
|Lee Jackson||Juanita||Chicago Blues from C.J. Records Vol. 2|
|Lee Jackson||Pleading for Love||Chicago Blues from C.J. Records Vol. 2|
|Lee Jackson||When I First Came to Chicago||Lonely Girl|
|Lee Jackson||Lonely Without Love||Lonely Girl|
|Jody Williams||Groan My Blues Away||Cool Playing Blues|
|Otis Spann||Five Spot||Blues From The Checker Vaults|
|Howlin' Wolf||I'll Be Around||Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters|
|Howlin' Wolf||Evil||Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters|
|Howlin' Wolf||I Have A Little Girl||Smokestack Lightning: The Complete Chess Masters|
|Jody Williams||Easy Lovin||Cool Playing Blues|
|Billy Boy Arnold||Don't Stay Out All Night||The Very Best of Blues: Vee- Jay Vol. 2|
|Dennis 'Long Man' Binder||I'm A Lover||Long Man Blues|
|Jody Williams||I Feel So All Alone||Cool Playing Blues|
|Jimmy Witherspoon||Ain't Nobody's Business||Spoon So Easy|
|Billy Stewart||Billy's Blues (Part 1)||The Unbelievable Billy Stewart|
|Bo Diddley||I'm Looking for a Woman||Bo's Blues|
|Bo Diddley||Who Do You Love||Bo's Blues|
|Jimmy Rogers||One Kiss||Complete Chess Recordings|
|Jimmy Rogers||I Can't Believe||Complete Chess Recordings|
|Jody Williams||You May||Chess Blues Guitar 1949-1969|
|Jody Williams||Lucky Lou||Chess Blues Guitar 1949-1969|
|Jody Williams||What Kind of Gal Is That||Chess Blues Guitar 1949-1969|
|Otis Rush||Groaning The Blues||Cobra Records Story|
|Harold Burrage||Messed Up||Messed Up ! The Cobra Recordings 1956-58|
|Bobby Davis||Hype You Into Selling Your Head||Bandera Blues And Gospel|
|Jody Williams||Moanin' for Molasses||The Chicago Years: Blues|
|Howlin Wolf, Jody Williams, Hubert Sumlin and Drummer Earl Phillips|
Today's program is part two of series of shows devoted to lesser known Chicago blues artists, some session artists, others who cut a handful of sides under their own name, all who are little remembered outside of die-hard collectors. We spotlighted guitarists William Lacey and Lee Cooper last week and this time out we showcase two more guitarists: Lee Jackson and Jody Williams. In the mid-1950's, Williams was one of the most sought-after session guitarists in Chicago, yet he was little known outside the music industry since his name rarely appeared on discs. His acclaimed comeback in 2000 led to a resurgence of interest in Williams’ early work. In the 50's he was briefly a member of Howlin' Wolf's band, playing on a number of classic sides as well as backing artists like Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Rush, Billy Boy Arnold and others. He cut a handful of brilliant sides under his own name as well. In the late 1960's, he quit the music business in favor of a steady day job. Lee Jackson appears in many studio sessions as a guitarist and bassist but only recorded a handful of sides under his name. His first 45 was for Cobra and after that he would wax some very good tracks for labels run by Cadillac Baby and Carl Jones as well as laying down some fine session work. In 1970, Jackson was part of the American Folk Blues Festival's European tour. He cut his first full LP for Bluesway label in the 70's and cut another album in 1977 for the T.K. label that went unissued.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Joseph Leon "Jody" Williams moved with his family to Chicago when he was just 5 years old. It was an encounter with Bo Diddley at a talent show that convinced him he should put down his harmonica and pick up a guitar. Absorbing the guitar styles of T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, and Robert Lockwood, Jody become one of the first important string benders to work in Chicago, influencing such up and coming stars as Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. Williams’ solo career began in December 1955 with the upbeat saxophone-driven "Lookin' For My Baby", released under the name Little Papa Joe on the Blue Lake label. Williams also cut "What a Fool I've Been (I Feel So All Alone)" and "Easy Lovin'" for the label. The label closed a few months later, leaving his slide guitar performance on "Groaning My Blues Away" unreleased.
After touring with West Coast piano player Charles Brown, Williams established himself as a session player with Chess Records. At Chess, Williams met Howlin’ Wolf, recently arrived in Chicago from Memphis, and was hired by Wolf as the first guitarist in his new Chicago-based band. A year later Hubert Sumlin moved to Chicago to join Wolf's band, and the dual guitars of Williams and Sumlin are featured on Howlin’ Wolf’s 1954 singles, "Evil Is Going On", and "Forty Four", and on the 1955 releases, "Who Will Be Next" and "Come To Me Baby." By this time, Williams was highly sought after as a session guitarist, and his virtuosity in this capacity is well illustrated by his blistering lead guitar work on Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?", a hit for Checker Records in 1956. In 1957, Williams released "You May" on Argo Records, backed with the instrumental "Lucky Lou", the extraordinary opening riff of which Otis Rush copied on his 1958 Cobra Records side "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)." Other notable session work from the 1950's include lead guitar parts on Billy Boy Arnold's "I Ain't Got You" and "I Wish You Would", Jimmy Rogers’ "One Kiss", Jimmy Witherspoon’s "Ain't Nobody's Business" and Otis Rush’s "Three Times A Fool." Also worth noting is Williams work backing Otis Spann’s storming 1954 release, "It Must Have Been The Devil b/w Five Spot", that features lead guitar work from B. B. King, one of Williams’ early heroes and a big influence on his playing.
|Lee Jackson, photo by Don Peterson|
The frequency with which Williams found his distinctive guitar phrases being copied without credit led to increasing disenchantment with the music business. When the distinctive riff he created for Billy Stewart's 1956 Argo release, "Billy's Blues", was appropriated by Mickey Baker for the Mickey & Sylvia hit, "Love Is Strange", Chess Records took legal action. At the conclusion of the case in 1961, Williams gained neither credit nor compensation.
Lee Jackson was born Warren George Harding in 1921 in Arkansas. He was strongly influenced by his Uncle Alf Bonner and his Aunt Cora who led a jug band and also ran a café between Helena and Memphis in which about every bluesman of the neighboring States played regularly. After some years playing with the Bonners' Jug Band, he tried his luck,under the nickname of Lee Jackson, as an itinerant musician, playing in Memphis, Florida, Saint Louis and finally Chicago. As writer Gerard Herzhaft noted: "The guitar style of Lee Jackson, sharp, jazzy, with sparse but brilliant and bluesy notes was quite original for the immediate post-war Chicago blues scene, reflecting his years playing with swinging jug bands."
|Read Liner Notes|
In Chicago he made his debut with Cobra in 1956, with "Fishin' in My Pond b/w I'll Just Keep Walkin'." Jackson's sides under his own name were scant, cutting scattered singles for C.J. and Bea & Baby before cutting his first album, Lonely Girl, for the Bluesway label in 1973. In 1970, Jackson was part of the American Folk Blues Festival's European tour and two sides from that event were issued on the Scout label. Around this time Jackson was part of Willie Dixon's Chicago All-Stars group and a bootleg of him with the band has been circulating for some time. In 1977, he cut another album for Ralph Bass and the T.K. label that was never released, although tracks from that session popped up on several anthologies.
Another interesting session was one captured in 1960 by Joachim Berendt that featured Lee Jackson alongside Shakey Jake, Walter Horton, Sunnyland Slim, Jump Jackson and others. These tracks were part of a 45 minute private recording circulating among collectors. Some of these tracks appeared on a German LP. From this session we play Jackson's on "Change of Love" and another track backing Sunnyland Slim. Jackson also backed pianist Little Johnny Jones on two sides that only saw the light of day years later. Jones' widow, Letha Jones, owned an acetate of two 1964 titles and Jim O'Neal of Rooster Records licensed the rights from her to issue them on 45. Perhaps Jackson's best session work can found on the 1962 Crown release Roosevelt Sykes Sings The Blues which has been reissued by Ace. This short session was recorded in Chicago, and it features Sykes in the company a stellar band including Willie Dixon on bass, Jump Jackson on drums and Sax Mallard. By the late 70's Jackson was playing more and more in the Chicago North Side clubs and his reputation was growing among this new audience. Sadly it would be too late. Jackson was shot to death by the son of his new bride during an argument and died on July, 1st, 1979.
–Lee Jackson Obituary. Blues Unlimited no. 135/136 (Jul/Sep 1979): 30.
–Lee Jackson Obituary. Blues Unlimited no. 135/136 (Jul/Sep 1979): 30.