SAMMY LEWIS (By Dik de Heer)

Born 8 September 1932, Memphis, Tennessee

The productive and all too brief meeting between vocalist / harmonica player Sammy Lewis and guitarist Willie Johnson produced one of the best blues issued by Sun Records. In the eyes of many collectors and blues fans - including this writer - there is no finer blues side ever cut on Sun than "I Feel So Worried" (Sun 218). Even rockabilly fans who merely tolerate Sun blues are often fond of this record, owing in no small way to Willie Johnson's guitar style. Recorded on March 28, 1955, it was the only time that Lewis and Johnson recorded together. The flipside, So Long Baby Goodbye" is more conventional R&B. The third song from this session, "Gonna Leave You Baby", was obviously not issued by Sam Phillips because the harmonica and guitar are terribly out of tune with each other. Willie Johnson, who was born in Senatobia, Mississippi, on March 24, 1923, played with Howlin' Wolf as far back as 1942. He played on a number of Sun sessions before recording with Lewis. Soon afterwards he headed for Chicago to rejoin Wolf's band where he remained until 1961. Sammy Lewis continued working in Memphis after Johnson moved north, working with an assortment of bands. Lewis was influenced by Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter on his Sun recordings. He went on to cut sides for the West Memphis 8th Street label and was thought to have died until he was rediscovered in 1970, still playing in West Memphis.

"I Feel So Worried" was first reissued on the LP "The Blues Came Down From Memphis" (London HA-S 8265) in 1966. (I remember Mike Raven playing it on Radio 390). This LP was reissued on Charly 10033 in 1985 and on CD Charly 67 in 1987 (with eight extra tracks). Since then there have been several other reissues of "I Feel So Worried", on Charly (Big Bad Blues, CPCD 8100) and other labels.

These pages were originally published as "This Is My Story" in the
Yahoo Group "Shakin' All Over". For comments or information
please contact Dik de Heer at

-- Return to "This Is My Story" Index --