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Little Willie Anderson

May 21, 1920 – June 20, 1991

Some folks called Chicago harpist Little Willie Anderson “Little Walter Jr.,” so faithfully did Anderson’s style follow that of the legendary harp wizard. But Anderson was already quite familiar with the rudiments of the harmonica before he ever hit the Windy City, having heard Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Nighthawk, and Robert Lockwood Jr. around West Memphis, Arkansas.

Anderson came to Chicago in 1939, eventually turning pro as a sideman with Johnny Young. Anderson served as Walter’s valet, chauffeur, and pal during the latter’s heyday, but his slavish imitations probably doomed any recording possibilities for Anderson — until 1979, that is, when Blues On Blues label boss Bob Corritore escorted him into a Chicago studio and emerged with what amounts to Anderson’s entire recorded legacy. In Chicago, in his later years, Willie could frequently be heard sitting in at B.L.U.E.S on Halsted and at the Broadway Nite Club, on Chicago’s north side, owned by blues guitarist John Brim.

Bob did a masterful job as producer, assembling a band of the finest musicians, including some former bandmates of Little Walter, to back Little Willie, including Robert Lockwood Jr. and Sammy Lawhorn on guitar, Willie Black and Jimmy Lee Robinson on bass, and Fred Below on drums. Pete Haskins contributed one track on sax. Earwig CEO Michael Frank was thrilled to have the opportunity to buy the album master from BOB owner/session producer Bob Corritore and reissue it on the Earwig Music label. Corritore and Frank, both harmonica players, used to hang out at the clubs watching Willie Anderson and his contemporaries.

-Written by Bill Dahl, updated by Michael Frank

Harmonica and Vocals