The Blues in a bowler hat.

In the early part of the sixties, many of the new British pop groups had drawn their inspiration from obscure and previously unknown American blues singers. Many of these singers and musicians were then invited to tour the UK at various times either individually or collectively in a show called The American Folk Blues Festival.

One of the more eccentric of these performers was Sonny Boy Williamson(real name Rice Miller).

He ambled onto the stage looking for all the world like a city gent dressed in bowler hat, suit and tie and carrying a furled umbrella and briefcase. Closer inspection showed that the suit was cut from two different shades of grey cloth and the briefcase contained half a dozen harmonicas and a bottle of whisky.

In touring the UK he was backed at various times by The Yardbirds, The Animals and Manfred Mann. While he was here he recorded with The Yardbirds and with The Animals.

Here, Chris Dreja and Paul Jones share their memories of working with him.

And here is more from Sonny Boy with backing from Willie Dixon on bass, Sunnyland Slim on piano and Hubert Sumlin on guitar.

It looks like he has emptied that whisky bottle before the show and I love the way he says thank you at the end.

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One Response to “The Blues in a bowler hat.”

  1. James Higham February 12, 2011 at 21:24 Permalink

    It looks like he has emptied that whisky bottle before the show and I love the way he says thank you at the end.

    Perhaps there was another whisky bottle waiting after the show.

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