Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Don't Start Me Talkin' / All My Love In Vain - Sonny Boy Williamson (Checker 824)



Recorded in Chicago on August 12th, 1955. Personnel: Sonny Boy Williamson (vcl and hca); Otis Spann (p); Muddy Waters (g); Jimmy Rogers (g); Willie Dixon (b); Fred Below (d).






Recorded at Sonny Boy Williamson's first session for the Chess label, and released on the Chess subsidiary Checker, "Don't Start Me Talkin'" hit the R&B charts in October / November 1955. On the November 12th issue of Billboard, it stood at number 9 in the retail sales chart, number 3 in the juke box plays chart and number 5 in the disc jockey plays chart. The record didn't start slipping down the charts until early December, so Sonny Boy's Chess debut was a considerable success.

1955 was an excellent year for Chess with a whole heap of hits for Sonny Boy, Little Walter, Willie Mabon, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and of course Chuck Berry whose "Maybellene" was the third top selling R&B disc of the year.

Many thanks to El Enmascarado for this post. Special mention must be made of his sterling persistence in getting a decent rip from the Victrola - worn shellac disc, especially from skip-skip afflicted "All My Love In Vain." Luckily for us El Enmascarado has a hi-tech solution to such problems - increase the tone arm weight. Back when a record was a record and not a mere intangible concatenation of bits and bytes, I used to sellotape coins to my tone arm so that it could plough through skips. Happy days.

5 comments:

Irving Snurd said...

What a great record! From the opening harmonica through to the end of both sides, Sonny Boy's first Checker single is as good as it gets: terrific vocals, a couple fine harmonica solos each, Muddy's band is cookin', especially Spann and Below on "All My Love In Vain" and even though we've all heard these two songs a million times, from singles to LPs to CDs, there's just something about a little surface noise to really put things right.

(I once had possession of Sonny Boy's Trumpet 78 of "Mighty Long Time"/"Nine Below Zero" and it had a crack from outer rim to label, and on the "Zero" side there was a pit almost 1/8" in diameter and 1/16" deep and at 78 rpm the tone arm just flew right over that hole and never skipped a note!)

Anonymous said...

The high-tech solution of scotching a coin on the tone arm was also the solution of my youth in the 50s & 60s for getting a record to play right. We had a small portable system which we called a 'pickup', bought possibly at a Woolworth's store here in Montréal.
It sure wasn't high-fidelity but that was then and it didn't matter. The music was the point.
Hey! Thanks for all the work, it is much appreciated.
ralph11

boogiewoody said...

Thans for the comments, folks. Mr Snurd - you should be writing the reviews here, not me!

Bruce said...

Thanks so very much! The more Sonny Boy II the better...
Many blessings on ya, great job always my friend..
When I did the blues Delta tour on my own 10 day tour I drove deep in to the Delta South and thru cornfields and there it was The Man's tomb stone off a side of the road grave yard...
I stayed a good while... On the way home, off Highway 61
I pulled off, to the left bridge bringing me to the small downward town a across the bridge in Arkansas, and found the block and address where the great man died penniless ... the building was practically down, close to a lot... Now they hold a blues festival in that small town... also a great Sonnyboy II exhibit the Clarksdale, MS Museum by the bus depot where Muddy, and so many others departed town for Chicago!
One amazinr=e thing after another... well worth your time and drive!

boogiewoody said...

Thanks for the great comment Bruce. In fact it's so interesting, I'm gonna copy 'n' paste it on to the Chess Masters post so that more people can read it!