Chicago Blues Guitarist and Singer Jody Williams was born Joseph Williams in Mobile, Alabama in 1935. His family moved to Chicago when he was just 5 years old. During the 1950s he was one of the most in-demand session guitarists in the windy city, performing and recording with artists such as: Bo Diddley, Memphis Minnie, Elmore James and Otis Spann. It was inevitable that Williams would eventually end up associated with Chess records and in the early 1950s he took up post as a guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf. Combining with Hubert Sumlin to create a deadly twin guitar lineup, Williams and Sumlin were vital keys in the success and definition of Wolf’s Chicago recordings of 1954-55.
Williams made his solo debut as Little Papa Joe on the short lived Blue Lake label in December 1955 but also kept a steady stream of session work. He is the lead guitarist on Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” and also features on recordings by Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmy Rogers and Jimmy Witherspoon from this period.
In 1957 he released another solo 45 on Argo as Little Joe Lee and his work from this era was influential to his contemporary Otis Rush and guitar licks from this 1957 record can be heard almost verbatim on several of Rush’s recordings from the following year.
Following an argument over lack of royalties, Williams cut ties with the Chess organisation in 1961. He struggled on mainly with live work through the rest of the 60s recording only one more session in 1962 before retiring from music altogether and retraining as a technical engineer for Xerox.
The year 2000 saw Williams finally pick up the guitar again and restart his career in earnest. Since then he has released a couple of albums and continues to perform live.
The Yulando, Nike, Jive and Smash 45s all appear to originate from the same 1962 session which provided the following four tracks: “Lonely Without You”, “Moaning For Molasses”, “Time For A Change” and “Hideout”. All four tracks were initially spread out for release by Nike, Jive and Smash in 1963. The Yulando 45 is from the following year takes the Jive 45 and reissues it with Hines and Lynn’s picking up extra credits on the label.