It's fair to say that Jimmy Lee Williams isn't a polished bluesman. He'll never be B.B. King. But that's fine. On these tracks recorded between 1977 and 1982 at his home in Porlan, GA, he serves up a mess of raw blues with just his voice and guitar. While not a great player, he uses the instrument effectively to back himself, behind a slightly gravelly voice. And what you get is the blues as you'd hear it in the country, at the house parties and dances that still go on. While the songs are all supposedly traditional (some well known, like "Step It Up and Go," for example), several have very individual touches, while a few others are cobbled together with verses taken from the deep general well of the blues. But this isn't so much about the material as the performances. There's a warm spontaneity about Williams, as if these were all first takes, pieces he'd just remembered and dusted off for these recordings. And that's what makes this record special; you feel like you're eavesdropping on something private, almost intimate, rather than a big recording session. It holds the same appeal as the best of the Alan Lomax field recordings. So what if Williams isn't the very best blues musician you've ever heard, not another Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters. He's himself, with his own things to say, and he says them very well indeed.
|Label:||Fat Possum Records|