Willie Love (November 4, 1906 – August 19,
1953) was an American Delta blues pianist. He is best known for his
association with, and accompaniment of
Sonny Boy Williamson II.
Love was born in Duncan, Mississippi, and in 1942, he met
Sonny Boy Williamson II in
Greenville, Mississippi. They played regularly together at juke joints
throughout the Mississippi Delta. Love was influenced by the piano playing
of Leroy Carr, and adept at both standard blues and boogie-woogie styling.
In 1947 Charley Booker moved to Greenville, where he worked with Love. Two
years later, Oliver Sain also relocated to Greenville to join his
stepfather, Love, as the drummer in a band fronted by Williamson. When
Williamson recorded for Trumpet Records in March 1951, Love played the piano
on the recordings. Trumpet's owner, Lillian McMurray, had Love return the
following month, and again in July 1951, when Love recorded his best known
number, the self-penned, "Everybody's Fishing." Love played piano and sang,
while the accompanying guitar come from Elmore
James and Joe Willie Wilkins. His backing band was known as the Three
Aces. A further studio session in December 1951 had Love backed by
Little Milton (guitar), T.J. Green
(fiddle), and Junior Blackman (drums). In his teenage years,
Eddie Shaw played tenor saxophone with both
Milton and Love.
Under his own name, Love did not return to the studio until March 1953, when
he cut "Worried Blues" and "Lonesome World Blues." Despite the friendship
between them, Love did not utilise Williamson's playing on any of his own
material. In April 1953, Love and Williamson recorded in Houston, Texas, but
it was Love's final recording session.
Love played piano on Williamson's albums, I Ain't Beggin' Nobody and
Clownin' With The World (1953). All of Love's own recordings appeared on the
compilation album, Greenville Smokin', issued in 2000.
After suffering the effects of years of heavy drinking, Love died of
bronchopneumonia, in August 1953, at the age of 46. He was interred at the
Elmwood Cemetery in Jackson, Mississippi.