A few weeks back I reviewed a superb album from Ian Parker where he covers a number of Willie Dixon songs and then this arrives on my doorstep – the real thing!

This was the man who literally wrote the book on Blues, writing songs covered by a host of massive names in rock and the Blues – writing for Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley & Check Berry and featured in albums by rock artists including Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. Jeff Beck, Cream, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Steppenwolf

Dixon was born in 1915 so at the time of this recording he was coming up to 60 years old and you can hear all of those years in his voice but you can also hear the experience as a performer as he puts on a stellar performance of 9 of his best numbers as well as a couple of intro and exit boogies.

The band on this album are Freddy Dixon on bass, Lafayette Leakes on piano, Buster Benton on guitar, Clifton James on drums and Carrie Bell on harmonica – known collectively as the All-Star Band.

The songs are all classics – ‘Crazy ‘Bout My Baby’, ‘Rock Me’, ‘Wang Dang Doodle’, ‘Little Red Rooster’ and ‘Spoonful’ are all featured alongside a few numbers less frequently covered such as ‘I Don’t Trust Nobody’, ’29 Ways’ and ‘I Think I Got The Blues’ but the band it as tight as a nut and every number rocks with amazing rhythm. Bell’s harmonica is superb – especially on ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ and Leakes piano provides a constant element of New Orleans soul behind the vocal.
The version of ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, the song he wrote for Muddy Waters, is stunning. Very much in Dixon’s own style and with another stellar solo from Carrie Bell.

It isn’t an introduction to Willie Dixon so much as a joy in its own right.
If you are after an hour of the best boogie in town this will transport you, but you’d best bring your dancing shoes.

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