Working as a photographer in the bars of the Hastings Street area, he also learned to play the harmonica. His first gig was in the Good Time Bar with Washboard Willie's band. Willis gained some harmonica tuition from Sonny Boy Williamson II, from whom he adopted his nickname. In March 1956, he formed his own band with pianist Chuck Smith, guitarist Louis (Big Bo) Collins and drummer Jim Due Crawford.
Two years later Smith, Crawford and Eddie Burns backed Willis on his debut record, "I Gotta Find My Baby", for Duke Records. Another record, "Love Shock", recorded by Joe Von Battle, was leased to Excello. An unissued 1961 session for Chess Records presaged a five-year recording silence, followed by singles for Speedway, Revilot (including the instrumental "The Creeper') and Wheel City at the end of the decade. In 1969 he recorded his first album for the Stax Records subsidiary Enterprise.
New King Of The Blues Harmonica, a mostly instrumental album. A second album, Hard Goin' Up was released in 1973, and achieved some commercial success, reaching a position in Billboard's Top 50 for R&B.. Sources: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze, Wikepedia and allmusic.com. Read more on Last.fm.
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