Elmore (Elmo) James recorded many classics after hitting the charts with “Dust My Broom” in 1952 and “I Believe” in 1953, but only with New York producer Bobby Robinson did Elmore get his name back onto the hit record charts. The first session for Robinson’s Fire label in 1959 yielded the classic “The Sky Is Crying” (made famous later by Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others). Robinson remembered writing the song -– a magnificent vehicle both for Elmore’s emotion-packed blues vocal and his ringing slide guitar — on a rainy day during his visit to the Windy City. The date featured Elmore with his most familiar Chicago recording accompanists – Little Johnnie Jones on piano, J.T. Brown on saxophone, and Homesick James on second or bass guitar. (Homesick, who remained an active slide guitarist for several decades after Elmore’s death in 1963, also claimed to have played the lead on some of Elmore’s tracks. In later years Sam Myers, who played harmonica with Elmore, also began laying claim to playing drums on more and more Elmore tracks, including “The Sky Is Crying,” but the drummer here was probably the ace percussionist Odie Payne, Jr.)
ELMO JAMES AND HIS BROOMDUSTERS
Elmore James, vocal and guitar, with Little Johnnie Jones, piano; J.T. Brown and possibly Boyd Atkins, saxophones; Homesick James, bass guitar; Odie Payne or Sam Myers, drums. Recorded possibly Nov. 3 or 4, 1959, Chicago. Released as Fire 1016 (45rpm) in 1960.
Discographical details from The Blues Discography 1943-1970.
— Jim O’Neal