Blues around Beale street Memphis Willie Nix
The Baker Shop Boogie by Willie Nix was recorded in the Memphis Sun Records studio in January 1953. Willie Nix was an innovative drummer and gifted lyricist as well as vocalist. Willie Nix had as a musician an integral part in Memphis’s Beale Street blues community during the late forties and early fifties. Willie’s Boogie is a true rhythm and Blues song, with a great harmonica interlude throughout the song. Nix really brings the groove and feel of this song into your living room, car or local bar.
From Tap dancer to Bluesman
We know Willie Nix as a great drummer, singer and Harmonica player, but Willie didn’t start his career as a musician in his teenage years he was a tap dancer with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels. Nix was part of a famous minstrel family that became the home of many blues legends like Big Joe Williams, Brownie Mc Ghee, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.
Through the Minstrels Nix became part of the group musicians who performed at Beale Street. He met Sonny Boy Williamson and together with fellow bluesman Willie Love, Joe Willie Wilkins he performed throughout the deep South as the Four Aces. (not to be confused with the fifties pop group).
Willie Nix recording career
As a bandleader of solo musician Nix recorded and played in both Memphis and Chicago, and worked with the finest bluesmen in both cities, among them Junior Parker, B.B. King, Elmore James, Sonny Boy Williamson II, and Bobby Blue Bland. In the fifties he made a two year stop in prison. After his release from prison Nix moved back to Memphis and continued to be a local fixture in the blues community. He performed on and off until his death in 1991.
Willie Nix Memphis backing band
Willie Nix recorded Nervous Wreck in 1953 for Chance Records. His Backing band contained some of the greatest blues musicians around. Eddie Taylor on guitar, Sunnyland Slim on Piano honky tonking throughout the song. Snooky Pryor delivering a leading harmonica melody and Alfred Wallace bringin the steady drums.
Prison Bound Blues was probably sang most of Willie’s time in prison and describes prison time in a way you will only find back in blues songs. Early one morning,The blues came fallin’ down, Early one morning, The blues came fallin’ down, I was all locked up in jail, And prison bound.
allthough it is difficult to find recordings of Willie Nix around the internet or in your local recordstore, the music of Nix is absolutely worth listening. Like Joe Hill Louis, Nix’s style is truely a Memphis blues, recognisable for the rhythm, the up-tempo and the clear vocals.