Bill Webb (March 24, 1924 – August 22, 1990) was an American
Louisiana blues and R&B guitarist, singer and songwriter. Webb's own style
of music combined Mississippi country blues with New Orleans R&B. His best
known recordings were 'Bad Dog' and 'Drinkin' and Stinkin''. Despite a
lengthy, albeit stuttering, career, Webb nevertheless only released one
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Webb's first guitar at the age of eight was
stringed with screen wire and made from a cigar box. His greatest influence
was Tommy Johnson. With a real guitar obtained whist a teenager, in 1947
Webb won a talent show, and subsequently briefly appeared in the musical
film, The Jackson Jive, before settling in New Orleans in 1952.
Webb obtained a recording contract with Imperial Records, after his
friendship with Fats Domino led to his introduction to Dave Bartholomew. In
1953 Webb released his debut single, 'Bad Dog,' a non commercial slice of
country boogie-woogie. Frustrated by lack of recognition, Webb relocated to
Chicago, where he worked in various factories. In Chicago, Webb met and sat
in with Muddy Waters,
John Lee Hooker,
Jimmy Reed, and
Webb returned to New Orleans in 1959 to work as a stevedore, performing
music infrequently. However, in 1968 he recorded several songs for the
folklorist David Evans, which eventually appeared on the Arhoolie Records
album Roosevelt Holts and His Friends. The 1972 compilation album, The
Legacy of Tommy Johnson contained five tracks performed by Webb.
A combination of the exposure at home and in Europe led to visits to Webb
from blues fans, and invitations to tour. In 1982 Webb appeared at the Dutch
Utrecht Festival. Finally in 1989, with financial assistance from the
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Webb released Drinkin' and Stinkin'.
His experience of encountering three drunken women, who had been out
drinking for three days without bathing, inspired the lyrics for the title
track of the album.
Boogie Bill Webb died in New Orleans in August 1990, at the age of 66.
Drinkin' and Stinkin' (1989) - Flying Fish Records
The Blues of Snooks Eaglin & Boogie Bill
The Blues of Robert Lockwood Jr. & Boogie Bill Webb (2004) - Storyville
The Jackson Jive (1947)
Blues of Boogie Bill Webb (2002) - Storyville