Down and Out Blues

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Down and Out Blues
Down and Out Blues.jpeg
Compilation album by
Released1959 (1959)
RecordedAugust 12, 1955 – March 27, 1958 in Chicago
GenreChicago blues
LabelChecker LP-1437
ProducerLeonard Chess, Phil Chess, Willie Dixon
Sonny Boy Williamson chronology
Down and Out Blues
The Real Folk Blues

Down and Out Blues is the first LP record by American blues musician Sonny Boy Williamson. The album was released in 1959 by Checker Records (see 1959 in music).

The album was a compilation of Williamson's first singles for Checker, from "Don't Start Me to Talkin'" b/w "All My Love in Vain" through "Dissatisfied" b/w "Cross My Heart".

The album features many famous blues musicians backing Williamson, including Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, and Willie Dixon.


The first session that Williamson recorded for Checker was on August 12, 1955 where he recorded "Don't Start Me to Talkin'" and "All My Love in Vain",[1] which were released as a single a month later in September.[2] On January 7, 1956 he recorded "Let Me Explain". The single "Keep It to Yourself" b/w "The Key (To Your Door)" was recorded on August 7, 1956. "Fattening Frogs for Snakes" b/w "I Don't Know" was recorded on February 6, 1957[1] and was released either in late May or early June.[3] "99" was recorded on September 1, 1957[1] and was released as the B-side of "Born Blind" in late January or early February 1958.[4] The single "Cross My Heart" b/w "Dissatisfied" was recorded at the same session. "Wake Up Baby" b/w "Your Funeral and My Trial" was the last song on Down and Out Blues to be recorded on March 27, 1958.[1]

Artwork and packaging[edit]

The album cover features a photograph of a homeless person by Don Bronstein, and the liner notes were written by Studs Terkel, who had written Giants of Jazz.[5]


Down and Out Blues was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2007.[6] In 1988, the album won a W.C. Handy Award for Vintage/Reissue Album (US).[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Sonny Boy Williamson.

Side one
  1. "Don't Start Me to Talkin'" – 2:30
  2. "I Don't Know" – 2:20
  3. "All My Love in Vain" – 2:45
  4. "The Key (To Your Door)" – 3:10
  5. "Keep It to Yourself" – 2:45
  6. "Dissatisfied" – 2:40
Side two
  1. "Fattening Frogs for Snakes" – 2:16
  2. "Wake Up Baby" – 2:21
  3. "Your Funeral and My Trial" – 2:26
  4. "99" – 2:35
  5. "Cross My Heart" – 3:18
  6. "Let Me Explain" – 2:50


Per liner notes[8]


Down and Out Blues peaked at #20 on the UK Albums Chart.[9]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalog
United States 1959 Checker Records mono LP LP-1437
stereo LP LPS-1437
United Kingdom 1963 Pye International Records LP NPL 28036
United States 1990 MCA Records/Chess Records CD CHD-31272
Japan 2001 MCA Records CD UICY-3207

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d The Essential (CD liner). Sonny Boy Williamson. United States: MCA Records/Chess Records. 1993. CHD2-9343.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ "Reviews of New R&B Records". Billboard: 43. September 24, 1955. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  3. ^ "Reviews of New R&B Records". Billboard: 66. June 3, 1957. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  4. ^ "Reviews of New R&B Records". Billboard: 61. February 3, 1958. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  5. ^ Down and Out Blues (Vinyl sleeve). Sonny Boy Williamson. United States: Checker Records. LP-1437.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ Past Hall of Fame Inductees Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Blues Foundation. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  7. ^ Past Blues Music Awards Archived 2011-11-10 at the Wayback Machine Blues Foundation. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  8. ^ Down and Out Blues (CD liner). Sonny Boy Williamson. United States: MCA Records/Chess Records. 1990. CHD-31272.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  9. ^ "Sonny Boy Williamson". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 10, 2011.