The Original Sonny Boy Williamson: Father of Blues Harmonica

Today is the birthday of John Lee Curtis “Sonny Boy” Williamson (1914-1948), not to be confused with another performer who also became famous using that name . This Sonny Boy is often called the Father of Blues Harmonica, and is crucial in the evolution of country blues into the urban Chicago style (his early recordings were in the first style, his last ones were in the latter). His best known number is his first one, 1937’s “Good Morning Little School Girl”, which has been covered many, many times. I heard many versions prior to ever hearing this one, by the likes of the Yardbirds, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, and Mississippi Fred MacDowell. Williamson was murdered in a street robbery in 1948. His final words were reportedly, “Lord, have mercy”.

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