Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume Two, Track Three

For our next selection, let's move over to the soul-blues side of the aisle with Lee "Shot" Williams.  Williams was raised in Mississippi near his cousin, Little Smokey Smothers, and earned the nickname "Shot" from his mama, because when he was a kid, he loved to wear suits and dress up like a "big shot."  Williams moved to Detroit in the mid 50's and then to Chicago in the late 50's, where he began singing in Smothers' band, later joining Magic Sam's band and after that, he joined Earl Hooker's band.  He recorded singles for multiple labels in the 60's and 70's with a few minor successes, finally releasing his own album in 1977.  In the 80's, he moved to Memphis, where he knew he could catch on with the soul-blues circuit, which he did......I can remember seeing his name plastered on those colorful old posters for various soul-blues festivals in my area.

In the early 90's, Williams sang guest vocals on Smothers' album for the Dutch label Black Magic, Bossman:  The Chicago Blues of Little Smokey Smothers (produced by Dick Shurman).  Based on that performance, the label decided to record Williams with his own band (and Smothers guesting on guitar).  The result was Cold Shot, which was voted Best Blues Album of 1995 in Living Blues magazine's Readers' Poll.  Cold Shot definitely boosted Williams' profile.  He signed with Ecko Records in Memphis and released, naturally, Hot Shot, which is arguably his best effort, along with several other albums for Ecko and, later, CDS Records.  Despite his larger profile from Cold Shot, Williams still mostly toured clubs in the South, though he did play the Chicago Blues Festival in the mid 90's.  He passed away in 2011 at age 73.

Lee "Shot" Williams' contribution to our second Blues Fix Mix CD comes from Cold Shot, and it is a terrific, bombastic cover of "If It Wasn't For Bad Luck," a single released by Ray Charles and Jimmy Lewis in the late 60's.  Where the original version is stripped down and funky, Williams' version benefits greatly from his world-weary vocal, Smothers' stinging guitar break and the Chicago Playboy Horns.  This is one that all of us blues fans can certainly relate to, so sit back and enjoy!!


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