SonnyBoy

You got to help me, baby.I can't do it all by myself.You know if you don't help me, darling,I'll have to find myself somebody else.sonny boy williamson

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FAQs

How Do I Sort Out The Overlapping Sonny Boy I and II Recordings?

Click on the "Records" bar to your left and start with those records noted in ALL CAPITALS.

 

The Complete Career-Spanning Recordings

CD Sets

1. The Best of Trumpet Records recordings (released and unreleased) is now included in Sonny Boy Williamson: The Classic Sides 1951-1954 JSP7766 (Made in Britain) (4 CDs including 55 cuts with Sonny Boy ), 

 2  the rare (look for one on E-Bay) Sonny Boy williamson: The Chess Years CD Red Box 1  (4 CDs with 70 released and 19 unreleased alternatives) on Charly has everything released or unreleased on Chess, and

 3. d American Folk Blues Festival '62-65 ECD26100 (5 CDs including 8 cuts by Sonny Boy) and \

  4. another five performanceson The Unissued 1963 AFBF as included on The Devil's Music; The Soundtrack to The 1976 BBC TV Documentary Series INDIGO Box Set (Do not buy other versions of the Unlissued 1963 AFBF as they have an annoying high pitched feedback squeal on them. This was not released on other versions because it had that noise and they have finally engineered it out. This CD has the marvelous and unique versions of "99," "Don't Stop Me Talkin'" and "All My Love In Vain" which he has not recorded live elsewhere.).

   5. There are also 13 tracks from the BBC special with Chris Barber in May 1964 which featured Sonny Boy Williamson on Lost and Found The Blues Legacy Vol. 3  available at www.blueslegacy.net .

    6.Other bootlegs have been released but they are not on authorized CDs or currently available.

DVDs Of course the 13 performances + individual performances as a finale, with Mae Mercer, Victoria Spreey & Muddy Waters and DVDs on

   1.The American Folk Blues Festival 1962-1966 Vol 1 & 2 and

    2. The British Tours 1963-1966 and

    3. Memphis Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson Live In Europe  from Hip-O including "Sonny Boy Williamson," the Stockholm Sweden-produced film for Storyville Records in Denmark and the Jazz Prism TV show      from   Belgium are on  from Hip-O

Starter collections:  A good collection to begin with is The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson (2CDs) or His Best (1CD) or a good career retrospective is Harp From Deep South. Don't overlook the brilliant live AFBF recordings, my favorites. Also don't miss The Animals and The Yardbirds recordings, which are, at times, unpolished and prematurely recorded but surprisingly competant.Some of Sonny Boy's features are excellent.

Note: Chess a re-recorded eight Trumpet Records originals including "Eyesight To The Blind" (as "Born Blind"). The results were often strikingly different. All of Sonny Boy's recordings for Chess Records were released on their Checker label.

Sonny Boy's Lonesome Cabin

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 All currently being edited and updated..

  • A detailed discography covering over 50 full-length records, some very rare, by Sonny Boy plus numerous singles and 78's
  • A list of all versions of all songs known to have been recorded by him.
  • A discussion of his unique and moving harp style, with sample audio files.
  • A collection of rare photos.
  • A page of links to related resources and publications. Don't overlook this lively and informative section which introduces you to many of Sonny Boy's closest friends, peers and followers as well as gives you a brief history of Delta Blues History.

Whether you are a long-term Sonny Boy fan seeking an elusive recording or a budding harmonica player hoping to pick up a few tips from the maestro, we hope you find this site useful and interesting. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to send us an e-mail at sonnyboy@donoghue.com before you go. 

Tell us what country you are from, your relationship to Sonny Boy and or how his music has changed your.

'fessor Mojo AKA Bill Donoghue.

**************************************** PERSONAL STORIES AND REFERRALS INVITED ...

Tell us your Sonny Boy Williamson stories - everyone has them.

Everybody who ever met Sonny Boy can tell you about him and what happened when they met him. He was one of a kind. On the other hand, those thave have discovered his musi since he died in 1965, can only speak of how his lonesome moving harmonica, his lyrics or his blues singing touched them and sometimes their music.

'fessor Mojo AKA Bill Donoghue, Host, www.sonnyboy.com can be reached at fessormojo@yahoo.com

Author, Don't Start Me To Talkin' (Preview of Sonny Boy's Bio) Available on Amazon.com

Sonny Boy is buried in Tutwiler MS next to the remains of the Whitfiield Baptist Church where it is rumor that Sonny Boy preached back in the 1930 and where his funeral was held. Sonny Boy's last two sisters Mary Ashford and Julia Barner are buried nearby. I personally visited the two sisters about three months before the fire in which they perished. The gravesite is overseen by and ta clinic is run a nun, Sister Dr. Anne Brooks who also runs The Tutwiler Medical Clinic. Visit The Sonny Boy Club www.SonnyBoyClub.com and consider donation to this worthy cause.

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Sonny Boy Williamson recorded over 150 songs between 1951 and 1965. Most of these were his own compositions, and many were recorded more than once. A brilliant improviser, he was able to make each performance unique, through differing arrangements, tempos and even lyrics (as illustrated by the 11 takes/false starts of "Little Village" recorded in one famous session).

The list below includes all versions of all songs known to have been recorded by Sonny Boy. Unless otherwise indicated, all were written by Sonny Boy Williamson II and recorded in the studio. Most are published by Arc Music Group/BMI.

For inexplicable reasons, Arc Music does not differentiate between the songs of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson (Sonny Boy I) and Alex "Rice" Miller (Sonny Boy II, the subject of this website). Lost or unissued takes and Sonny Boy II songs recorded only by other artists have not been included, nor have songs in which Sonny Boy was accompanying another artist.

Each song listing includes the following details:

  • The full title (or titles)
  • The writer (if not Sonny Boy Williamson)
  • The recording date (or dates)
  • The albums on which the song appears (in order of release), with links to the relevant pages.

23 Hours Too Long

  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • "309"

  • 14/4/53, CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • "99" [a.k.a. Ninety Nine]

  • 1/9/57, CKR 883, DAOB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • All My Love In Vain

  • 12/8/55, CKR 824, DAOB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • All Night Boogie [instrumental]

  • 5/11/63, BMV12
  • Baby Don't Worry [a.k.a. Baby, Don't You Worry]

  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY
  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • Baby Please Come Back Home

  • 5/11/63, BMV12
  • Boppin' With Sonny [retitled take of Clownin' With The World]

  • 2/11/54, ACE 511, GIYD, BWS, FTB
  • Born Blind [a.k.a. Eyesight To The Blind]

  • 1/9/57, CKR 883, OWO, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • Bring It On Home [Willie Dixon]

  • 11/1/63, CKR 1134, TRFB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • Bye Bye Bird [Willie Dixon, Sonny Boy Williamson]

  • 11/1/63, CKR 1036, MRFB, TESBW, HB
  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • 28/2/64, DSMNF
  • Bye Bye, Sonny, Bye Bye

  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • Cat Hop

  • 23/3/53, TPT 212, DMAM, GIYD, BWS, FTB
  • Checkin' Up On My Baby

  • 14/4/60 (TAKE 1),TRFB, TIMS, TESBW, HB
  • 14/4/60 (TAKE 2), CHARLY BOX 1
  • Chicago Bounce

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW
  • City Of New Orleans

  • 14/4/53, CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • Close To Me -- see (I Want You) Close To Me

    Clownin' With The World [Instrumental]

  • 2/11/54 (TAKE 1), CWTW, BWS
  • 2/11/54 (TAKE 2) -- SEE BOPPIN' WITH SONNY
  • Come Go With Me

  • 5/65 (RADIO BROADCAST), KBT
  • Come On Back Home

  • 5/8/51, TPT 140, KBT
  • Coming Home To You Baby

  • 1/11/63, APIB, KITO
  • Cool, Cool Blues

  • 5/8/51, TPT 139, KBT
  • Cool Disposition

  • 30/1/60, OWO, TESBW
  • Crazy About You Baby

  • 12/3/51, TPT 129, KBT
  • Cross My Heart

  • 1/9/57, CKR 910, DAOB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB

    Decoration Day (John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson)

  • 3/9/63, CKR 1065,MRFB, TIMS, TESBW
  • Dissatisfied

  • 1/9/57, CKR 910, DAOB, TRFB, TIMS
  • 9/10/64 (LIVE), SBWIE
  • Do It If You Wanna

  • 5/8/51, TPT 139, KBT
  • Do The Weston [Instrumental]

  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • Don't Let Your Right Hand

  • 1/11/63, APIB, KITO
  • Don't Lose Your Eye

  • 24/1/56, OWO, SBW, TESBW
  • Don't Make A Mistake

  • 8/64 (TAKE 1), DMAM
  • 8/64 (TAKE 2), DMAM
  • Don't Send Me No Flowers

  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • Don't Start Me To Talkin'

  • 12/8/55, CKR 824, DAOB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • Down And Out

  • 1/11/63 (TAKE 1), BMV12
  • 1/11/63 (TAKE 2), BMV12
  • Down Child [a.k.a. Mr. Downchild]

  • 4/12/51, TPT 168, KBT
  • 15/9/60, CKR 1134, TRFB, TIMS, TESBW, HB
  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • Empty Bedroom

  • 2/11/54, TPT 228, GIYD, BWS, FTB
  • Eyesight To The Blind [a.k.a. Born Blind]

  • 12/3/51, TPT 129, KBT
  • Fattening Frogs For Snakes

  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 1), CKR 864, DAOB, TIMS
  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 2), DMAM, TESBW, HB
  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • Find Another Woman

  • 8/64, DMAM
  • From The Bottom [written by Lillian McMurry but credited to "Willie Williamson"]

  • 12/11/54 (TAKE 1), SBR
  • 12/11/54 (TAKE 2), TPT
  • 12/11/54 (TAKE 3), SBR
  • 12/11/54 (TAKE 6), SBR 228, GIYD, BWS
  • Gettin' Out Of Town

  • 24/10/53, TPT 215, GIYD, BWS, FTB
  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • Gettin' Together

  • 1/11/63, APIB, KITO
  • Going In Your Direction

  • 24/10/53, TPT 216, DMAM, GIYD, BWS
  • (TAKE 4), SBR
  • (TAKE 5), SBR,
  • (UNRELEASED TAKE),FTB
  • Good Evening Everybody

  • 12/8/55, OWO, TESBW, HB
  • Got To Move

  • 11/1/63, TRFB, TIMS, SBW
  • Had My Fun (Goin' Down Slow)(St. Louis Jimmy Oden)

  • 1963/64 (LIVE), SBWIE
  • Have You Enjoyed My Play?

  • 11/63, BMV12
  • Have You Ever Been In Love

  • 7/8/56, OWO, TESBW
  • Help Me [R. Bass, Sonny Boy Williamson]

  • 11/1/63, CKR 1036, MRFB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • Hurts Me So Much

  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 1), DMAM
  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 2), DMAM
  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 3), DMAM
  • I Can't Be Alone

  • 8/64, SBW, TESBW
  • I Can't Do Without You

  • 14/4/60, BR
  • I Can't Understand

  • 1/11/63, APIB, KITO
  • I Cross My Heart

  • 5/8/51, TPT 144, KBT
  • I Don't Care No More

  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • I Don't Know

  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 1), CKR 864, DAOB, TIMS, DMAM, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • 8/2/57 (TAKE 2), CH CD 9330
  • 13/10/63 (LIVE), DMAM, SBWIE
  • I Know What Love Is All About

  • 24/1/56, OWO
  • I Never Do Wrong

  • 30/1/60, SBW
  • I See A Man Downstairs

  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • (I Want You) Close To Me [a.k.a. Close To Me] [Willie Dixon]

  • 30/4/64, CKR 1080, MRFB, TESBW
  • I Wonder Do I Have A Friend

  • 1/11/63, APIB, BMV12
  • I Wonder Why

  • 24/1/56, OWO, SBW
  • I'm Gonna Put You Down

  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • I'm Not Beggin' Nobody

  • 2/11/54 (TAKE 1), CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • 2/11/54 (TAKE 2), GIYD
  • I'm So Glad

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, BMV12
  • I'm Trying To Make London My Home

  • 12/10/64 (LIVE), SBWIE
  • It's A Boody Life

  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • It's Rainy Outdoors, Baby

  • 11/63, BMV12
  • (It's) Sad To Be Alone [a.k.a. Sad To Be Alone]

  • 30/1/60, CKR 943, TRFB, TIMS, SBW, HB
  • Keep It To Yourself

  • 24/10/53, CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • 7/8/56 (TAKE1), CKR 847, OWO, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • 7/8/56 (TAKE 2), DAOB
  • Keep Your Hand Out Of My Pocket

  • 27/3/58, BR, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • Key To Your Door -- see The Key (To Your Door)

    Leavin' Blues

  • 5/11/63, BMV12
  • Let Me Explain

  • 24/1/56, CKR 834, DAOB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW
  • Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

  • 1959, CKR 927, OWO, SBW, TESBW
  • Like Wolf

  • 8/2/57, OWO, SBW, TESBW
  • Little Girl

  • 1/11/63, APIB, BMV12
  • Little Girl How Old Are You

  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • Little Village

  • 1/9/57 (TAKES 1-11), BR
  • 1/9/57 (EDITED), TESBW
  • Lonesome Cabin

  • 6/60, CKR 956, BR, TESBW
  • 28/2/64, DSMNF
  • Mighty Long Time

  • 4/12/51, TPT 166, KBT
  • Movin' Down The River

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, BMV12
  • Movin' Out

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, KITO
  • Mr. Downchild -- see Down Child

    My Babe

  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • My Younger Days

  • 3/9/63, CKR 1080, MRFB, TIMS, HB
  • Night Time Is The Right Time

  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • Nine Below Zero

  • 4/12/51, TPT 166, KBT
  • 8/9/61, CKR 1003, MRFB, TIMS, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • Ninety Nine -- see "99"

    No Nights By Myself [same tune as "Mighty Long Time"; new lyrics written by Lillian McMurry but credited to "Willie Williamson"]

  • 12/11/54, ACE 511, GIYD, BWS, FTB
  • Nobody But You

  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • November Boogie [Instrumental]

  • 5/11/63, BMV12
  • On My Way Back Home

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, BMV12
  • Once Upon A Time

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, KITO
  • One Way Out [Sonny Boy Williamson, Elmore James, Marshall Sehorn]

  • 8/9/61, CKR 1003, OWO, SBW, TESBW, HB
  • 3/9/63, CHARLY BOX 1
  • 30/4/64, TRFB, TIMS
  • Open Road

  • 14/4/60, BR
  • Out On The Water Coast

  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • Peach Tree

  • 6/60, TRFB
  • Pontiac Blues

  • 5/8/51, TPT 145, KBT
  • 8/12/63 (LIVE), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • 28/2/64, DSMNF
  • Rebecca Blues [Peter Chatman]

  • 1/11/63, BMV12
  • Red Hot Kisses [written by and credited to Lillian McMurry]

  • 24/10/53, TPT 216, DMAM, GIYD, BWS
  • Right Now [Willie Love]

  • 5/65 (RADIO BROADCAST), KBT
  • Sad To Be Alone -- see (It's) Sad To Be Alone

    Same Girl

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, KITO
  • Santa Claus

  • 14/4/60, BR, SBW, TESBW
  • She Brought Life Back To The Dead

  • 4/12/51, TPT 215, GIYD, KBT
  • She Got Next To Me

  • 27/3/58 (TAKE 1), BR
  • 27/3/58 (TAKE 2), SBW
  • She Was Dumb

  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • She's Crazy

  • 14/4/53 (TAKE 1), >GIYD
  • 14/4/53 (TAKE 2), CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • She's My Baby

  • 14/12/60, MRFB, TESBW
  • Shuckin' Mama

  • 2/11/54, CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • Slow Walk

  • 28/2/64, DSMNF
  • Slowly Walk Close To Me

  • 1/11/63, APIB, KITO
  • Somebody Help Me

  • 6/60, MRFB, TESBW
  • Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues

  • 5/8/51, TPT 145, KBT
  • Sonny Boy's Girlfriends

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, KITO
  • Sonny Boy's Harmonica Boogie

  • 13/10/63 (LIVE), SBWIE
  • Sonny's Rhythm [Instrumental]

  • 14/4/53 (TAKE 1), CWTW, BWS, FTB
  • 14/4/53 (TAKE 2), GIYD
  • Sonny's Slow Walk

  • 30/12/63 (LIVE), TAASBW
  • Steady Rollin' Man

  • 1958, FLYR LP 567, PAULA CD 07
  • Stop Crying

  • 5/8/51, PT 140, KBT
  • 30/4/64, SBW
  • Stop Now Baby

  • 4/12/51, TPT 168, KBT
  • Stop Right Now

  • 14/12/60, CKR 975, MRFB, TESBW
  • Stormy Monday

  • 5/65 (RADIO BROADCAST), KBT
  • Take It Easy Baby

  • 8/12/63 (LIVE, VERSION 1), SBW&TY , SBWIE
  • 1963 (LIVE, VERSION 2), SBWIE
  • Take Your Hands Out Of My Pocket

  • 1958, FLYR LP 567, PAULA CD 07
  • Temperature 110

  • 6/60, CKR 956, BR, TESBW
  • That's All I Want [Willie Dixon]

  • 8/9/61, TRFB
  • The Goat

  • 30/1/60, CKR 943, MRFB, TIMS, TESBW
  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • The Hunt

  • 14/12/60, CKR 975, MRFB
  • The Key (To Your Door) [a.k.a. Key To Your Door]

  • 7/8/56 (TAKE 1), CKR 847, DAOB, SBW
  • 7/8/56 (TAKE 2), TESBW
  • The Sky Is Crying [Lewis, Robinson, James]

  • /11/63, APIB, KITO
  • The Story Of Sonny Boy Williamson

  • 1/11/63, APIB, BMV12
  • This Is My Apartment

  • 8/2/57, OWO
  • This Old Life

  • 15/9/60, BR
  • Tippin' Through Customs

  • 1/11/63, BMV12
  • Too Close Together

  • 4/12/51, TPT 212, KBT
  • 15/9/60, CKR 963, OWO, SBW, TESBW
  • Too Old To Think

  • 8/9/61, TRFB, TESBW
  • Too Young To Die

  • 14/12/60, TRFB, TIMS, TESBW
  • Trust My Baby

  • 15/9/60, CKR 963, TRFB, TIMS, TESBW
  • Trying To Get Back On My Feet

  • 3/9/63, CKR 1065, MRFB, TIMS, TESBW
  • Understand My Life

  • 8/64, SBW
  • Unseen Eye

  • 1/9/57, BR, TESBW
  • Unseeing Eye

  • 1959, CKR 927, TESBW
  • V-8 Ford

  • 5/65 (RADIO BROADCAST), KBT
  • Wake Up Baby

  • 27/3/58, CKR 894, DAOB, TIMS
  • Walking

  • 4/65, DSMNF
  • West Memphis Blues

  • 5/8/51, TPT 144, KBT
  • When The Lights Went Out

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, KITO
  • Who's Gonna Take Care Of You?

  • 11/63, BMV12
  • Why Are You Crying?

  • 1/11/63, TBOSBW, KITO
  • Work With Me

  • 12/8/55, OWO
  • You Killing Me

  • 12/8/55, OWO, TESBW
  • Your Funeral And My Trial

  • 27/3/58 (TAKE 1), CKR 894, DAOB, TIMS, TESBW, HB
  • 27/3/58 (TAKE 2), BR
  • Your Imagination

  • 24/1/56, CKR 834, BW, TESBW