Search - Willie Dixon :: Chess Box

Chess Box
Willie Dixon
Chess Box
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (18) - Disc #2

Best known for his work as a songwriter, producer, and talent scout, singer-bassist Willie Dixon essentially built Chicago's Cobra and Chess labels with his sweat. Although this double-disc set does include five performanc...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Willie Dixon
Title: Chess Box
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Chess
Original Release Date: 11/22/1988
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1990
Album Type: Box set
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B
Styles: Chicago Blues, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Regional Blues, West Coast Blues, Electric Blues, Modern Blues, Piano Blues, Harmonica Blues, Jive Jazz
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 076731650029, 0076731650029, 076731650012, 076731650043

Best known for his work as a songwriter, producer, and talent scout, singer-bassist Willie Dixon essentially built Chicago's Cobra and Chess labels with his sweat. Although this double-disc set does include five performances by the man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, himself, it's really a testament to his songwriting prowess, packed with recordings that made his tunes classics of blues and early rock & roll. There's Howlin' Wolf tearing through "Spoonful," "Little Red Rooster," "Evil," and "Back Door Man." There's Muddy Waters belting "You Shook Me," "Hoochie Coochie Man," and "I'm Ready." There's Bo Diddley delivering "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover" and Koko Taylor launching her career with "Wang Dang Doodle." The set features excellent liner notes, and its only disappointment is that its label-centricity excludes Dixon's work for Cobra with then-youngsters Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. --Ted Drozdowski

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Member CD Reviews

Reviewed on 8/11/2009...
Great artist. Good disk set.

CD Reviews

Dixon IS The Blues On The Essential 2CD "Chess Box"
Anthony G Pizza | FL | 04/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Willie Dixon gave the blues (and, by proxy, rock and roll) much of its identity and personality. As a songwriter, he created some of music's most indelible images: the Back Door Man, Little Red Rooster, Hootchie Coochie Man, and Seventh Son. He not only gave British and Southern rock and roll much of its early repetoire, but his songs became their monikers ("Spoonful," "Pretty Thing"). He played bass on many seminal Chess Records sides (for Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry), and himself recorded several first-class singles.Chess celebrates Dixon's legacy on the 2-disc "Chess Box," and hearing these original versions is a revelation after exposure for years to their classic rock covers. Hear Waters' "You Need Love," and "You Shook Me," Little Milton's "I Can't Quit You Baby," or Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bring It On Home." Led Zeppelin covered these over their first two LPs, but could only amplify the raw power of Dixon's original words and melodies.Dixon's prowess also shows through his influential bass work and the sides he did solo and with his group, The Big Three. Highlights here include "Crazy For My Baby," the humorous "Walkin' The Blues," and the acoustic "Weak Brain, Narrow Mind." So, applying Willie Dixon's place in music history to freshman logic class goes like this: Dixon once named an album, "I Am the Blues." He also said in the liner notes, "As long as American music survives, so will the blues." Therefore, as long as American music survives, so will the songs of Willie Dixon. "The Chess Box" proves that to be no boast.Essential."
Exciting addition to the "Chess Box" series
Docendo Discimus | Vita scholae | 11/16/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Willie Dixon is the featured performer on only six of these thirty-six songs. But he is there on the rest as well, composing, producing, playing bass, and usually taking a back seat to stars like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter and Bo Diddley.

All of these songs are written and composed or co-composed by Willie Dixon, including classic blues hits like Little Walter's "My Babe", Bo Diddley's "Pretty Thing", Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man", and Howlin' Wolf's magnificent "Hidden Charms" with its fiery guitar solo.

But there are many other superb songs here as well, including lesser-known tracks like the delightful jazzy number "Violent Love", performed by Dixon, guitarist Ollie Crawford, and pianist Leonard Caston, and Dixon's own performance of the catchy "29 Ways".
Eddie Boyd's "Third Degree" is here too, co-written by Dixon, and from Howlin' Wolf's incredible catalogue comes "Evil", along with "I Ain't Superstitious", and "Little Red Rooster".
Little Milton performs "I Can't Quit You Baby" (usually associated with Otis Rush), Willie Mabon contributes the excellent "Seventh Son", and Muddy Waters' "I Just Want To Make Love To You" ranks among the highlights as well, as do Little Walter's rendition of "Dead Presidents" and Jimmy Witherspoon's take on "When The Lights Go Out".
Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) usually composed his own songs, but he pops up as well, doing "Bring It On Home".

Willie Dixon's "Chess Box" is a great collection of 50s and 60s blues, proving if proof was needed that Dixon deserves his place alongside the greats of Chess Records, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Rice Miller.
Furthemore, the sound is impeccable, and this fine set includes a well-illustrated and annotated booklet.
4 1/2 stars - highly recommended."