excerpt from 'Sam Myers: The Blues is My Story' pp. 92-93 (348 words)

excerpt from 'Sam Myers: The Blues is My Story' pp. 92-93 (348 words)

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Sam Myers: The Blues is My Story

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So you had a lot of guys who would take the same name [...] and would say, "You've heard this guy. Now I'm going to show you where I can do better." Kind of step the style up, while still wearing the name. It's just one of those things. […] The original [harmonica player] Sonny Boy Williamson was John Lee Williamson. He got killed in Chicago in a knife stabbing. Sonny Boy Number Two, as they would call him, his name was Rice Miller. He hung around mostly the Mississippi Delta, then over at Helena, Arkansas. And even though as flat and as country as he would talk at times, he wrote some good songs. He was a DJ and he just traveled around. How he got to be worldwidely known, he would always travel from town to town, state to state, anywhere, just him and his harmonica. Plus he did a lot of recordings, did a lot of stuff on radio. He was successful at that because the real Sonny Boy, John Lee Williamson, was dead[, ...] it was wide open for Rice Miller to start calling himself "the original Sonny Boy Williamson."

Rice Miller would come to Chicago to record. He would use the same musicians that Little Walter used. But he didn't stay nowhere long. He didn't care for Chicago, and he had a lot of enemies there. [...] People who knew him said, "Man, you are not the original Sonny Boy." He'd pull them aside and tell them, "Don't say nothing. I've got a gig to play, then I'm on to the next town." A lot of people around Chicago didn't like that and didn't care for him being around, although he blowed a harp like a demon. He could just pick up and start blowing any style. He never did use much amplified stuff, mostly studio mics. People were pissed off at him, but nobody wanted to hurt him because he blowed stuff that John Lee Williamson didn't blow. Not only did he take the name, he took the music and did something more with it.

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excerpt from 'Sam Myers: The Blues is My Story' pp. 92-93 (348 words)


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