Tuesday, November 22, 1988

Willie Dixon The Chess Box released

The Chess Box

Willie Dixon

Released: November 22, 1988

Recorded: 1951-1969

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: blues

Tracks, Disc 1:

Song Title Performer (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to charts.

  1. My Babe by Little Walter (3/12/55, 1 RB)
  2. Violent Love by The Big Three Trio (1951)
  3. Third Degree by Eddie Boyd (7/4/53, 3 RB)
  4. Seventh Son by Willie Mabon (1956)
  5. Crazy for My Baby by Willie Dixon (1955)
  6. Pain in My Heart by Willie Dixon (1955)
  7. Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters (3/13/54, 3 RB)
  8. Evil by Howlin’ Wolf (recorded 1954, charted 4/12/69, 43 RB)
  9. Mellow Down Easy by Little Walter (12/18/54, --)
  10. When the Lights Go Out by Jimmy Witherspoon (1954)
  11. Young Fashioned Ways by Muddy Waters (1955)
  12. Pretty Thing by Bo Diddley (1/7/56, 4 RB, 34 UK)
  13. I’m Ready by Muddy Waters (10/23/54, 4 RB)
  14. Do Me Right by Lowell Fulson (1955)
  15. I Just Want to Make Love to You by Muddy Waters (6/5/54, 4 RB)
  16. Tollin’ Bells by Lowell Fulson (1956)
  17. 29 Ways by Willie Dixon (1956)
  18. Walking the Blues by Willie Dixon (9/10/55, 10 BB, 6 RB)

Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. Spoonful by Howlin’ Wolf (6/30/60, --)
  2. You Know My Love by Otis Rush (1960)
  3. You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover by Bo Diddley (8/18/62, 48 BB, 68 CB, 63 HR, 21 RB)
  4. I Ain’t Superstitious by Howlin’ Wolf (5/62, --)
  5. You Need Love by Muddy Waters (1962)
  6. Little Red Rooster by Howlin’ Wolf (10/61, --)
  7. Back Door Man by Howlin’ Wolf (recorded 6/30/60)
  8. Dead Presidents by Little Walter (1964)
  9. Hidden Charms by Howlin’ Wolf (1962)
  10. You Shook Me by Muddy Waters (6/62, --)
  11. Bring It on Home by Sonny Boy Williamson II (recorded 1/11/63)
  12. Three Hundred Pounds of Joy by Howlin’ Wolf (recorded 8/14/63)
  13. Weak Brain, Narrow Mind by Willie Dixon (1964)
  14. Wang Dang Doodle by Koko Taylor (4/16/66, 58 BB, 4 RB)
  15. Same Thing [Live] by Muddy Waters (1/66)
  16. Built for Comfort by Howlin’ Wolf (recorded 8/14/63)
  17. I Can’t Quit You Baby by Little Milton (1969)
  18. Insane Asylum by Koko Taylor (1968)


4.403 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Songwriter, producer, and talent scout, singer-bassist Willie Dixon essentially built Chicago's Cobra and Chess labels with his sweat.” AZ This collection features 13 different artists but with one unifying theme – all of these songs are written by Dixon, “a testament to his songwriting prowess” AZ that makes a case for Dixon to be crowned “king of the blues composers.” BF He also produces and plays bass on most of these tracks. Dixon “is the only blues songwriter to be honored by a major label with a retrospective of this type.” AMG

It makes for a variety of styles; “amplified Delta blues, big band, Mills Brothers-style harmony blues, jazz-influenced jump blues, and near-pop style R&B are all here; guitar pyrotechnics by Muddy Waters or Hubert Sumlin (on the Wolf’s records), vocal acrobatics by Little Walter, and rippling performances by Koko Taylor illuminate this set throughout.” AMG

“There's Howlin’ Wolf tearing through Spoonful, Little Red Rooster, Evil, and Back Door Man. There’s Muddy Waters belting You Shook Me, Hoochie Coochie Man, and I’m Ready. There’s Bo Diddley delivering You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover and Koko Taylor launching her career with Wang Dang Doodle.” AZ

“The six tracks featuring Dixon as vocalist are probably the least familiar to collectors. Crazy For My Baby and his Big Three Trio’s previously unreleased take of Violent Love, both from 1951, are the earliest recordings here.” BF These, as well as Pain in My Heart, “are great records, lacking perhaps only a slight measure of the energy that a Muddy Waters brought to recording.” AMG

“Dixon biographer Don Snowden’s informative 12-page booklet adds to the value and also includes a complete session discography for every track; note, however, that the 1965 date given for The Same Thing from the Fathers and Sons/i> album (one of the few tracks here where Dixon was not present as bassist or A&R director) should be 1969.” BF

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First posted 3/19/2024.

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