The Jelly Roll All-Stars are a rare group of musicians comprised of some of the upper echelon of classic Blues session men from the golden age of the genre: Calvin "Fuzz" Jones (Bass) and multiple Blues Music Award winner Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (drums/vocals) were the rhythm section for Blues great, Muddy Waters for nearly two decades; Sam Carr (drums) of the Jelly Roll Kings and the Delta Jukes, and son of Robert Nighthawk, and who also performed behind Sonny Boy Williamson II in the 1950's; and Arthur Williams (vocals/harp), who shared stages with Elmore James and Junior Wells. This CD was recorded raw, with no overdubs in the legendary WROX Blues Radio studio in Clarksdale, Mississippi with everyone playing together in real time. Also includes accompanists, Bob Lohr (piano) and Jesse Hoggard (guitar).
Born in Mississippi, Arthur Williams is one of the few remaining authentic Delta-style blues harp masters. While growing up in Chicago, Williams carefully listened to the records and radio broadcasts of his two idols, Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter. He went on to play with Elmore James, Eddie Taylor, James Cotton, Junior Wells, and the great Muddy Waters. Arthur's harp prowess on Frank Frost's 1966 album earned the respect of legions of music critics and fellow blues men. After moving to St. Louis, Williams recorded and toured with Big Bad Smitty. An incredibly gifted harmonica player, Williams is finally achieving long-overdue recognition as a world-class musician.
Sam Carr has lived the blues. His father, legendary Blues Man Robert Nighthawk would take Sam along on his gigs. He was 8 or 9 years old dressed up to the nines and looking sharp. Sam would dance and perform in front of his father's band and during breaks. Sam is an energetic man, even at 71, he can out work many men half his age. Sam Carr has worked with Frank Frost for so many years that they are a team. Their names have become inseparable to a lot of blues fans. Sam and Frank have made music together since they were kids. While doing gig's up and down the "Blues Highway" they joined up with Sonny Boy Williamson and became his last band. Sam has consistently been chosen as the best blues drummer in "Living Blues." The Jelly Roll Kings, which also included Big Jack Johnson, is probably the best-known incarnation of Frank Frost and Sam Carr.
Born in 1926 in Greenwood, Mississippi, Calvin "Fuzz" Jones learned to play the violin and the bass guitar an early age.
Jones has been a long time collaborator with drummer Willie Smith. The two spent nearly two decades with Muddy Waters' band, a legacy they continued in The Legendary Blues Band. Jones' rhythm, and Smith's traditional "shuffle" style helped shape "the Chicago Blues sound" as it is known today.
Willie "Big Eyes" Smith was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1936. At the age of 17 he ventured to Chicago where he saw his first Muddy Waters performance. He was so taken by the music that he immediately bought a harmonica and started playing with various blues records. Willie was hooked on the blues and the attraction to the music persuaded him to stay in Chicago. In addition to the clubs, the blues was also vibrant at church gatherings, where Muddy Waters and other musicians would jam. Willie got to know Muddy and in fact was inspired to learn drums by Freddy Below, Waters' drummer.
In 1954 Willie formed a trio and began gigging at various clubs. The following year Willie was asked to perform with Bo Diddley and turned him down, but did consent to play drums on Bo Diddley's seminal hit "Diddy Wah Diddy."
In 1956 Willie was playing harmonica for Arthur "Big Boy" Spires for a spell and then decided to form his own band. In 1957 he returned to drumming for Little Hudson's Red Devil Trio. Shortly thereafter Muddy Waters asked Willie to join his band as an understudy to drummer "Mojo" Buford. Willie replaced Buford in the studio within a year and gigged with the band until 1960. During this period, as he progressed and solidified his Chicago sound, Willie recorded with James Cotton, Jo Jo Williams and Muddy Waters on a tribute to blues vocalist Big Bill Broonzy.
The 60's were lean times for the blues and Willie found himself working in a restaurant and collecting welfare. After several years at this low point in his life, Willie decided to go out and listen to Muddy one night. Rediscovering his urge to play, he asked to sit in with the band, and did. The next day Muddy asked Willie to rejoin his band.
After performing with Waters, Smith established his own niche within the tradition of the Delta Blues Sound by co-founding the Legendary Blues Band with Pinetop Perkins, Louis Meyers, Calvin Jones, and Jerry Portnoy. The group won six Grammy awards, recorded four critically acclaimed albums on the Ichiban label, backed up Buddy Guy, Howlin' Wolf and Junior Wells, toured with Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
Must Be Jelly, Severn CD 0029