Monthly Archives: November 2011

Willie Dixon on Songwriting, Bass Playing, and the Blues

For four decades, Willie Dixon loomed at the forefront of Chicago blues, working as a bassist, arranger, band leader, producer, talent scout, agent, A&R man, and music publisher. His most enduring contributions, though, were the songs he wrote. Dixon made Muddy Waters the “Hoochie Coochie Man,” taught Howlin’ Wolf “Evil” and “Spoonful,” and showed Sonny Boy Williamson how to “Bring It on Home.” “Willie Dixon is the man who changed the style of the blues in Chicago,” said Johnny Shines, a regular on the scene. “As a songwriter and producer, that man is a genius. Yes, sir. You want a hit song, go to Willie Dixon. Play it like he say play it, and sing it like he say sing it, and you damn near got a hit.” Continue reading