Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Willie DIXON - I Am The Blues 1970
I Am the Blues is easily Willie Dixon’s greatest album and is one of the most important albums in blues music. No other Dixon album showcases his songwriting brilliance. All of the tracks have on this album have been covered by various artists and groups, most noticeably Led Zeppelin’s versions of “I Can’t Quit You Baby” and “You Shook Me.” Artists such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, and the Allman Brothers have cited Dixon as one of their key influences. He is also one of the kings of ‘Chicago Blues.’
With all this being said, I Am the Blues is not one of my favorite blues albums. In fact, I only enjoy portions of the album. I do not doubt Dixon’s wonderful songwriting abilities. I love his lyrics, I love the instrumentation, and I love how much emotion comes through in his singing. However, I am not a giant fan of his voice and that is why I do not fully embrace this blues masterpiece. I can’t say I have heard a voice identical Willie Dixon’s in one of the many blues shows I have been to, but I have heard many that are similar. He has a gritty, unpolished voice that fits blues music well, but it does not overly impress me.
I find Led Zeppelin’s versions of the two previously mentioned songs to be better and more interesting than Dixon’s originals (although both songs are good on this album). “The Seventh Son” is the only track on I Am the Blues I have never really got into. Perhaps this is because the melody is so often used in blues musicians today, especially by less talented ones. My favorite track is easily “Spoonful.” This is one of the few tracks on this album that I am convinced Dixon’s voice is the suitable voice. It is energy packed, gravely, slightly sly, and with the other instruments, carries a great groove.
Perhaps I am being a bit harsh. This album IS a blues masterpiece, this I cannot dispute. For me, I Am the Blues has always been a slightly above average album from a listening standpoint. I just find Dixon to be an amazing blues songwriter and a good, but not legendary performer. Anyone who claims to enjoy blues music must listen to this album. What you get are nine of the best classic blues tracks ever written.
By Rocky Sullivan.
A1. Back Door Man 6:12
A2. I Can't Quit You Baby 6:43
A3. The Seventh Son 4:18
A4. Spoonful 4:57
B1. I Ain't Superstitious 4:06
B2. You Shook Me 4:17
B3. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man 4:51
B4. The Little Red Rooster 3:39
B5. The Same Thing 4:40