Homesick James, "Goin' Back In The Times"
  • Livin' Like A Bear
  • Bad Situation
  • Kissing In The Dark
  • Better Know What You Runnin' From
  • Goin' Back In the Times introduction
  • Goin' Back In The Times
  • Rocky Mountain
  • They Call Me Hotfoot Homesick
  • What Done Got Into That Woman
  • Crossroads Years Ago (Honeyboy Is A Friend Of Mine)
  • Bitin' Me And Shakin Me Up And Down
  • .38 Pistol
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His correct age was in doubt (he claimed he was born as early as 1905), but the slashing slide guitar skills of Homesick James Williamson have never been in question. Many of his most satisfying recordings placed him in a solo setting, where his timing eccentricities don’t disrupt the proceedings (though he made some fine band-backed waxings as well).

Williamson was playing guitar at age ten and soon ran away from his Tennessee home to play at fish fries and dances. His travels took the guitarist through Mississippi and North Carolina during the 1920s, where he crossed paths with Yank Rachell, Sleepy John Estes, Blind Boy Fuller, and Big Joe Williams.

Settling in Chicago during the 1930s, Williamson played local clubs and recorded for RCA Victor in 1937. The miles and gigs had added up before Williamson made some of his finest sides in 1952-53 for Art Sheridan’s Chance Records (including the classic "Homesick" that gave him his enduring stage name).

James also worked extensively as a sideman, backing harp great Sonny Boy Williamson in 1945 at a Chicago gin joint called the Purple Cat and during the 1950s with his cousin, slide master Elmore James (to whom Homesick is stylistically indebted). He also recorded with James during the 1950s. Homesick’s own output included crashing 45s for Colt and USA in 1962, a fine 1964 album for Prestige, and four tracks on a Vanguard anthology in 1965.

Williamson has never stopped recording and touring; he’s done recent albums for Appaloosa and Earwig. No matter what his current chronological age, there’s nothing over-the-hill about the blues of Homesick James Williamson.

-Written by Bill Dahl

Note from Earwig Producer Michael Frank

I once took Homesick James to renew his passport and discovered that his passport listed his name as William James Henderson and his birthdate as April 30, 1910. He died December 13, 2006, 4 1/2 months after his last gig, which I booked, The Maryport Blues Festival in northern England the last weekend in July. He died in a hospital in Springfield, Missouri, where he had been admitted under the name James Williamson.

Homesick James had a nickname of "Look Quick" due to his propensity for moving or disappearing off a scene seemingly on the spur of the moment. During the time I knew Homesick James, from 1972 through 2006, Homesick lived in Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta, Fresno and finally Springfield, Missouri, where he died at age 96. One afternoon sitting at the bar at Rosa's Lounge in Chicago, Homesick casually said to me, something to the effect that I should record him, so I thought for a moment, and said basically, 'Yeah I should, whereupon the deal was struck.

I ended up releasing a solo record with Homesick, because during the first day of recording what was supposed to be an album of half band tracks and half solo tracks, Homesick started an argument with the all-star band of drummer Robert Covington, bassist Bob Stroger, and harmonica player Lester Davenport. The session disintegrated, but the next day Homesick played the solo tracks beautifully. So I made a decision to leave the band tracks off the album.

Revisiting them in 2021, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the band tracks sound good enough to release on a new Homesick James album. Watch this space.
  • Members:
    Homesick James
  • Sounds Like:
    Classic Mississippi Delta style solo country blues guitar & vocals by the oldest active blues guitarist
  • Influences:
    Sleepy John Estes, Big Bill Broonzy, Blind Boy Fuller, Memphis Minnie
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
  • Profile Last Updated:
    08/14/23 16:40:36

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