C.C. Rider the Venerator: Sonny Boy Williamson

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This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.

sonny-boy-williamson-ii-03Sonny Boy Williamson

(December 5, 1912 – May 25, 1965)

It was 1969, Zeppelin recorded a track for their album Led Zeppelin II. A song they took credit for writing, called “Bring it On Home.” You may know it. Goes like this.

Great song. One problem though – they didn’t write it. See, Bring it On Home was written by a man named Willie Dixon. The most prolific songwriter of his time.  While Zeppelin embellished the track with a scorching Jimmy Page guitar break, it wasn’t the first time they neglected to credit Dixon for his work. And that led to a legal scuffle and a settlement in Dixon’s favor.

Nowadays all the songs that Zeppelin borrowed from Willie Dixon include his songwriting credits. And—as you might figure—there’s a lot of money in that. Pretty cool when you consider all the black folk cheated out of their publishing rights over the years.

Now, Zeppelin’s version is great in itself. But I’m a fan of the original. Dixon wrote it, but it was performed by another legend. Sonny Boy Williamson Two.

Here’s the orginal: Willie Dixon’s song from 1963, “Bring it On Home.”

Read more about Sonny Boy Williamson at C.C. Rider’s Website

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