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He could preach too... But he was blind... and a woman leads him around... - James Truesdale on Blind Willie Johnson

Author Topic: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"  (Read 740 times)

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Offline Laura

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Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« on: May 08, 2014, 05:44:45 AM »
Hi everyone. Some time ago I was browsing Big Joe's music on the Itunes store and heard a good quality recording of him accompanying a fantastic singer (who I initially thought was a woman... ^-^)
The singer features on two tracks from Big Joe's "Malvina My Sweet Woman" record and is credited as "Lee Willmans".
I've read some discussion that the singer's name is actually unknown and "Lee Willmans" was in fact Big Joe.  It does seem to be a coincidence that the names are so similar, Big Joe's full name being Joseph Lee Williams.
Anyway, I ask because I can't remember the name or the song I heard (or even if it was the same singer) so I was wondering if anyone knows of any other tracks that feature "Lee Willmans"?

Here he is singing "Early Morning Blues"


Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2014, 08:50:37 AM »
What a great track, Laura. That voice sounds different to Big Joe's voice on even his earliest recordings - to my ear anyway.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2014, 09:11:35 AM »

On 11 March 1952 Big Joe recorded for audition purposes 12 sides at the Baul Recording Company in St. Louis. He took with him Sam Fowler (hca), Willie Ealey (pno) and the unknown vocalist "Lee Willmans".

Willmans sang two songs Strange Girl Blues and Early Morning Blues accompanied by Fowler and Ealey.

The last speculation was that Lee Willmans is a misreading of Williams?s own name and the actual singer of the songs is not known.

Used to be a hot topic of discussion/speculation back in mid-70s when Oldie Blues released them as a box set with an incredible A4 booklet by Guido van Rijn.

I'm sure if asked RBF will have much input into this.


Offline wreid75

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2014, 12:06:24 PM »
First time listen and I love it  :-*

Offline Johnm

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2014, 12:09:42 PM »
I agree with the Prof., it doesn't sound like Big Joe singing to me.  Big Joe's singing always sounds like it's coming more from the diaphragm and chest, to me, than this singer, who is working with a head tone.  This singer also has a higher range.
All best,
Johnm

Offline frankie

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2014, 12:27:25 PM »
Hi everyone. Some time ago I was browsing Big Joe's music on the Itunes store and heard a good quality recording of him accompanying a fantastic singer (who I initially thought was a woman... ^-^)

Ok...  so there's a likeable big Joe track out there with a female singer - got it.

The singer features on two tracks from Big Joe's "Malvina My Sweet Woman" record and is credited as "Lee Willmans".

Confusion point - this is NOT a woman. This is a man. It is also NOT Big Joe Williams. This is Some Other Guy. If the singer you heard was in fact female, it could not have been this singer, because this one is male. I think. I'm pretty sure, anyway. In any case, it's unlikely to be the same singer without knowing which song you actually did hear.

There are only a couple of Big Joe Records that have female singers on them:

Tough Times - Mary Williams
Shake Your Boogie - Mary Williams (probably the same tune as the one on Tough Times)
Going Back To Crawford - Glover Lee Connor and Amelia Johnson

Whatever tune you heard must be on one of them, I think... NOT Malvina My Sweet Woman.

I think...
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 12:36:10 PM by frankie »

Offline Laura

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2014, 12:54:18 PM »
Sorry for the confusion everyone, especially you Frankie....let me try and rephrase my question.

The Big Joe Williams rekkid entitled "Malvina My Sweet Woman" has two tracks featuring a singer credited on the album as "Lee Willmans".  The tracks are "Early Morning Blues" and "Strange Girl Blues". The singer is NOT Big Joe - although he is playing guitar.

When I heard these tracks I was reminded of another Big Joe song I had heard in the past but I couldn't remember it's title, but I thought that the singer may have been the same.

I think the confusion comes from mentioning that some people have suggested that "Lee Willmans" was some kind of typo or misunderstanding on the cover and that the actual singer of these tracks was not credited and remains nameless!

When I first heard these tracks I was listening through bad speakers to an already bad recording - I thought the singer was female..I now know that he is not!

Mary Williams sings "I Want My Crown" on "Toughtimes" and I thought initially that SHE was Lee Willmans. I now know SHE is not a man.

SO my question is this: Has Lee Willmans ever recorded anything else?!?!

« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 12:55:45 PM by Laura »

Offline frankie

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2014, 01:32:41 PM »
aha...  I get it... I *didn't* get it. Now it's got! Sorry about that...

I've no idea if "Lee Willmans" ever recorded anything else...  it seems like the only way to identify him would be aurally, since that's probably not his real name in any case...  he may not ever have had a professional recording career at all, but maybe he did.

It's amazing how many talented people are just kind of under the radar.

Offline Laura

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2014, 02:44:58 PM »
aha...  I get it... I *didn't* get it. Now it's got! Sorry about that...

I've no idea if "Lee Willmans" ever recorded anything else...  it seems like the only way to identify him would be aurally, since that's probably not his real name in any case...  he may not ever have had a professional recording career at all, but maybe he did.

It's amazing how many talented people are just kind of under the radar.
That's ok! The way I phrased it came out all wrong, so apologies for that. You are probably right, but maybe someone has heard him somewhere else.

There are only a couple of Big Joe Records that have female singers on them:

Tough Times - Mary Williams
Shake Your Boogie - Mary Williams (probably the same tune as the one on Tough Times)
Going Back To Crawford - Glover Lee Connor and Amelia Johnson


without wishing to add further confusion to this mix... thought Glover Lee Connor was a man?

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2014, 04:07:21 PM »
Quote
without wishing to add further confusion to this mix... thought Glover Lee Connor was a man?

That's true

.... also I'm not sure if it's shortened Mary, but he calls her "Martha" Williams:

« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 04:11:00 PM by JohnLeePimp »
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2014, 04:10:39 PM »
Also I don't know the singer but this album seems interesting... The itunes samples are messed up though, anywhere I can listen to 'em?
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline frankie

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2014, 04:48:15 PM »
also I'm not sure if it's shortened Mary, but he calls her "Martha" Williams:



I think Joe actually refers to her as "Mother Williams" in that clip...
« Last Edit: May 08, 2014, 04:52:36 PM by frankie »

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Big Joe's "Lee Willmans"
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2014, 05:38:01 PM »
J.B. Lenoir I do believe

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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