Talkin' Blues: Chicago’s Best-Kept Secret — The Underexposed Talents of Blues-Rock Pioneer Jody Williams
The following content is related to the November 2013 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.
In the Fifties, Chicago was the center of the blues universe. Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and Howlin’ Wolf were at their creative and commercial peak, and Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Freddie King were all earning their bones. But alongside these now-legendary names are others who but for various twists of fate might be equally well known. One of these is Jody Williams.
Williams was introduced to the guitar by fellow Chicago teenager Bo Diddley and quickly took to the instrument. Before long he began working with elite musicians such as pianist Otis Spann, who introduced Williams to the Chess Records studio scene.
Williams proved himself to be remarkably versatile. He backed Howlin’ Wolf on “Evil” and “Forty-Four,” among the heaviest tracks of the era, but he could also swing with the uptown feel of his idol, B.B. King, and solo with blazing excitement.