Down and Out Blues

Down and Out Blues
Compilation album by Sonny Boy Williamson
Released 1959 (1959)
Recorded August 12, 1955 – March 27, 1958 in Chicago, Illinois
Genre Chicago blues
Length 31:56
Label Checker LP-1437
Producer Leonard 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 (real name Rice Miller). The album was released in 1959 by Checker Records (see 1959 in music).

The album was a compilation of Sonny Boy'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 Sonny including Muddy Waters, Otis Spann, and Willie Dixon.



The first session that Sonny Boy Williamson recorded for Checker was on August 12, 1955 were 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

The album cover features a photograph of a home-less person by Don Bronstein, and the liner notes were written by Studs Turkel, 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

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. "Dissatified" – 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

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


  1. ^ a b c d (1993) Album notes for The Essential by Sonny Boy Williamson [CD liner]. United States: MCA Records/Chess Records (CHD2-9343).
  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. ^ Album notes for Down and Out Blues by Sonny Boy Williamson [Vinyl sleeve]. United States: Checker Records (LP-1437).
  6. ^ Past Hall of Fame Inductees Blues Foundation. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  7. ^ Past Blues Music Awards Blues Foundation. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
  8. ^ (1990) Album notes for Down and Out Blues by Sonny Boy Williamson [CD liner]. United States: MCA Records/Chess Records (CHD-31272).
  9. ^ "Sonny Boy Williamson". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 10, 2011. 

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