Song:The Seventh Son
Album:I Am The Blues
Willie Dixon was the most important figure in the development of Chicago Blues as a songwriter, producer and bassist. He was the man behind most of the Chess Records recordings of the 50s. But as time progressed, Dixon wanted more credit so he left Chess to lead his own band. He recorded I Am The Blues for Columbia Records in 1970. He was born July 1, 1915 in Vicksburg, MS. He got into blues and gospel as a child and he moved to Chicago in 1936. He was an Illinois State Golden Gloves boxing champ and he fought professionally. He met Leonard Caston at the gym and got back into music. He was having problems with his boxing manager anyway. Their group The Big Three recorded for Columbia's race label Okeh in the late 40s. Then Dixon started playing jam sessions with Muddy Waters and others and this led to his signing with Chess Records first as a recording artist but Chess found Dixon was more useful as a producer. The Seventh Son was recorded by Willie Mabon and released in 1956. It was a much bigger hit when Johnny Rivers recorded it in 1965. In the early 60s, Dixon recorded for Bluesville, Verve and Folkways. He continued to work for Chess but he left in the mid-60s. He formed The Chicago All Stars and recorded I Am The Blues for Columbia in 1970. Musicians were Walter Horton on harmonica, Sunnyland Slim on piano, Johnny Shines on guitar and Clifton James on drums. It was his only album for Columbia and it is available as a budget CD. Dixon owned his own label for a while and also recorded for Ovation and Pausa. He also founded the Blues Heaven Foundation and sued Chess for back royalties. He had health problems in the 80s due to diabetes and Dixon died on Jan. 29, 1992 at age 76. Here's Willie Dixon with The Chicago All Stars featuring Leonard "Baby Doo" Caston on harmonica performing the Seventh Son. This is available on the DVD Wang Dang Doodle.