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The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson

Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Price: $26.98 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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MP3 Music, 45 Songs, 1993 $18.99  
Audio CD, 1993 $26.98  
Audio Cassette, 1993 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Good Evening Everybody 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Don't Start Me To Talkin' (Single Version) 2:32Album Only
listen  3. All My Love In Vain 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. You Killing Me 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Let Me Explain 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Your Imagination 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Don't Lose Your Eye 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Keep It To Yourself (Single Version) 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The Key (To Your Door) (Alternate) 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Have You Ever Been In Love 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Fattening Frogs For Snakes (Single Version) 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. I Don't Know 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Like Wolf 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Cross My Heart 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Ninety Nine 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Born Blind 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Little Village 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Unseen Eye 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Your Funeral And My Trial (Single Version) 2:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Keep Your Hands Out Of My Pocket 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Unseeing Eye 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide 2:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. The Goat (Mono Instrumental Version) 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Cool Disposition 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Santa Claus 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Checkin' Up On My Baby (Single Version) 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Temperature 110 2:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Lonesome Cabin 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Somebody Help Me (Mono Version) 2:16$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Down Child (Mono Version) 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Trust My Baby (Mono Version) 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Too Close Together 2:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Too Young To Die (Stereo Version) 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. She's My Baby (Stereo Version) 2:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Stop Right Now (Stereo Version) 2:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Too Old To Think (Mono Version) 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. One Way Out 1:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Nine Below Zero 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Help Me (Mono Version) 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Bye Bye Bird (Mono Version) 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Bring It On Home (Single Version) 2:35$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen19. Decoration Day (Stereo Version) 3:23$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen20. Trying To Get Back On My Feet (Stereo Version) 2:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Close To Me (Stereo Version) 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. I Can't Be Alone 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson + His Best + His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection
Price for all three: $44.26

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 8, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000002OC0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,629 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Rice Miller, "Sonny Boy II", began his association with Chess Records in 1955, when he was already at least 45 years old. His exuberant yet dynamic and intricate playing brought the harmonica from the Delta to Chicago, influencing every harp blower since. He developed his rough and wild, hard-swinging, juke-joint style during extensive travels throughout the South. These 45 potent Chess recordings are more refined and urbanized than his earlier Trumpet work, but still capture the excitement of those early sides. Included are remakes of Trumpet classics such as "Eyesight to the Blind" (re-titled "Born Blind") as well as classic gems including "One Way Out" and "Bring It On Home." --Marc Greilsamer

Product Description

The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson by Sonny Boy Williamson

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media.'s standard return policy will apply.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
This is a superb collection.
Singer/harpist Aleck "Rice" Miller may have started calling himself "Sonny Boy Williamson" to take advantage of the fame of John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson from Tennessee. But he wasn't a cheap imitator - Miller was one of the major blues artists at Chess Records in the 50s, alongside Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, and probably the best harmonica player the blues has even seen.

Rice Miller was a tremendous songwriter whose keen attention to detail was quite unusual in a genre which relied heavily on cliché and a handful of repeated patterns. He penned witty, sometimes romantic, sometimes venomous lyrics, and tunes memorable enough to rival those of Chess stalwart Willie Dixon. He was an equally terrific singer, highly expressive, and usually backed in the studio by superstar musicians like Dixon, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Otis Spann and Robert "Jr." Lockwood.

Sometimes a double-disc compilation is stretching it, especially for the casual fan, but these 45 tracks are not even close to being too many. Absolutely everything on "The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson" is worth a listen, and I can easily name another dozen songs which should have been here...Miller's recordings for Chess maintained an incredible level of quality.
There are really too many highlights to mention, but among the very best songs are "Don't Start Me To Talkin'", "All My Love In Vain", "Your Funeral And My Trial", "Let Me Explain" and "Fattening Frogs For Snakes" from Miller's first Chess LP, as well as "Help Me", "Checkin' Up On My Baby", "Too Young To Die" and many, many more - and more than half of these tracks are not on the single-disc MCA/Chess-release "His Best", which should be sufficent reason to pick up this fine collection instead.

And while you're at it, get Miller's early Trumpet recordings as well on Arhoolie's "King Biscuit Time"!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest storyteller blues singer March 20, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Sonny always had a great story song- There was always some predicament going on or some trouble he was in or just simply him being nosey and signafying on other folks problems. And all of this made him the best story teller. I absolutely love his storytelling in song. He was without a doubt the most compelling storyteller in all of Blues history. Buy this cd it's great and listen to the great stories. Sonny in one song says quote- "My baby asked me for 100 dollars and I didn't have but 99"- or the greatest (aint gone be no more sugar daddy) song ever recorded called "Fattening frogs for snakes" and of course his biggest hit is included on this package-1955's "Don't start me talking" because Sonny says when he starts talkin "he'll tell everything he knows". All of these are great classic blues songs from a true blues genius.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw Blues At Its Finest November 30, 2002
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Though I had heard many of his songs performed by others, I did not know the name Sonny Boy Williamson until I heard a John Mayall song about him thirtysome years ago. Recently, my dormant interest in the Delta blues was rekindled, so I decided to try and find out just what this Sonny Boy was about.
Where better to start than a box set? I really had no idea what to expect when I bought it, but what I got was more than expected. I took the set on a recent road trip and listened to both discs more than five times each and found something new to like each time.
The verdict? I love this stuff. Not only can Sonny Boy play his blues harp like no other, he can really sing. His songs are well-written and are often humorous when they are not meant to be. The sound is great too, one can hear every instrument at work, particularly the drums which drive the easy swing of Sonny's blues.
My favorites? I like every song. If I had to pick, Unseen Eye and Somebody Help Me would be near the top.
The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson dishes out a heaping plateful of raw blues at its primitive finest. Don't miss out on this one, its money well-spent.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Traveling Harp Wizard Needs A Home October 16, 1999
Format:Audio CD
Sonny Boy Williamson #2 (Rice Miller) was a man that lived music. From moonshine and Mississippi rambling with the legendary Robert Johnson in the 30's, to Howlin' Wolf's sister; from cutting sides with Muddy Waters at the Chess studios in Chicago, to conquering the British blues scene, Sonny Boy branded the world with his unique brand of country blues. The Chess ESSENTIAL package is the best overview of the man available in the States. Absolutely amazing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Work From A Harp Master August 5, 2001
By Alex
Format:Audio CD
Anyone fimilar with the blues has to have at least heard of Sonny Boy Williamson [Rice Miller]. The man was one of the best artists of his time and his work still holds up today. This guy had the blues down cold: he sung, wrote and played some of the best music ever. This compilation is exactly what the title says. There is simply no better place to turn for top notch blues. Sonny Boy's singing is astounding, his harp is nothing short of awe-inspiring (I like him even better than Little Walter). This one has all the classics from "Help Me" to "Keep it to Yourself" and the infamous "Little Village" in all its profane glory. If you waqnt to hear good blues with a heaping of extrodinary Harmonica playing, you can do no better than this outstanding package.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "HELP ME" I'M CRAZY 'BOUT SONNY BOY !!!!! March 13, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This cd has got it all, the big hits and, also, hard-to-find "classics!" I'd been searching for a compilation of this caliber for a long time! Cuts like "Little Village," with its hilarious out-take intro banter, "Like Wolf," where Sonny Boy does his Howlin' Wolf impression, "Santa Claus," which is about as funny as any blues song ever written, to "Too Young To Die," about the consequences of his relationship with a 'green-eyed' young woman! 45 GREAT cuts, with Sonny Boy's dynamite HARP, VOCALS and STORYTELLING! What a TREAT!!! This is a MUST HAVE collection, the BEST available in my opinion! You'll want more, of course, but this is an unbelieveably comprehensive place to start!!! 'Nuf said!
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