Don't Start Me Talkin'

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"Don't Start Me Talkin'"
Single by Sonny Boy Williamson II
B-side"All My Love in Vain"
ReleasedSeptember 1955 (1955-09)[1]
RecordedChicago, Illinois, United States, August 12, 1955[2]
GenreChicago blues
LabelChecker (no. 824)
Songwriter(s)Sonny Boy Williamson
Producer(s)Leonard Chess, Phil Chess, Willie Dixon[2]
Sonny Boy Williamson II singles chronology
"Boppin' with Sonny"
"Don't Start Me Talkin'"
"Let Me Explain"

"Don't Start Me Talkin'" (also called "Don't Start Me to Talkin'") is a blues song written and performed by Sonny Boy Williamson II. It was Williamson's first single recorded for Checker Records,[3] and reached number three in the US Billboard R&B chart in 1955.

Recording background[edit]

After Trumpet Records folded, on August 12, 1955, Sonny Boy Williamson II had his first recording session for Checker Records. "Don't Start Me Talkin'" was recorded at these sessions.[3] Backing Williamson (vocals and harmonica) were Otis Spann on piano, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass, and Fred Below on drums.[2][3]

Release and chart performance[edit]

"Don't Start Me Talkin'" was released as a single in September 1955, a month after its recording.[1] The song reached number three on Billboard magazine's R&B Singles chart.[4]

Other releases[edit]

Both sides of the single appeared on Williamson's 1959 debut album, Down and Out Blues, which was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2007.[5]

Other renditions[edit]

James Cotton, who was taught the harmonica by Williamson, recorded "Don't Start Me Talkin'", for the 1967 album, The James Cotton Blues Band.[6] The New York Dolls recorded it for their second studio album, Too Much Too Soon.[7] Bob Dylan performed the song on The David Letterman Show in 1984. Other music artists that have recorded the song include John Hammond, Jr., the Doobie Brothers, Dion, the Yardbirds, Climax Blues Band, Champion Jack Dupree, Rory Gallagher, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Fenton Robinson, Good Rockin' Charles[8] and Gary Moore, among others.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Reviews of New R&B Records". Billboard. September 24, 1955. p. 43. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Chess Blues 1947–1967 (CD notes). Various artists. Chess/MCA Records. 1992. CHD4-9340. Archived from the original on 2011-01-05. Retrieved 2010-12-22.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ a b c Robert Palmer (1981). Deep Blues. Penguin Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-14-006223-6.
  4. ^ "Sonny Boy Williamson – Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Past Hall of Fame Inductees Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Blues Foundation. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Overview: The James Cotton Blues Band by James Cotton". AllMusic. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Overview: Too Much Too Soon by New York Dolls". AllMusic. Retrieved December 21, 2010.
  8. ^ "The Devil's Music - Original TV Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  9. ^ "Search for "Don't Start Me Talkin'"". AllMusic. Retrieved May 14, 2024.