Victoria Spivey, Big Joe Williams and Bob Dylan “Three Kings And The Queen” (1962 — released 1964)
The ‘Three Kings’ were Roosevelt Sykes, Big Joe Williams and Lonnie Johnson. The ‘Queen’ was Victoria Spivey.
Recording session information:
Cue Recording Studios
New York City, New York
2 March 1962
Victoria Spivey recording session. Produced by Len Kunstadt & Victoria Spivey.
1. Sittin’ On Top Of The World (Big Joe Williams)
2. Wichita (Big Joe Williams)
3. Big Joe, Dylan And Victoria (Big Joe Williams)
4. It’s Dangerous (Victoria Spivey)
Victoria Spivey (piano & vocal), Big Joe Williams (guitar & vocal), Bob Dylan (harmonica and back-up vocal).
Victoria Spivey took Bob Dylan under her wing. Spivey convinced a protesting Len Kunstadt to record the unknown Dylan for the SPIVEY RECORDS label. Dylan was so impacted (as noted in his best selling 2004 autobiography, Chronicles) that he used a photograph of the pair (above) on the back cover of his LP New Morning, released in October, 1970.
“I think one of the best records that I’ve ever been a part of was the record made with Big Joe Williams and Victoria Spivey. Now that’s a record that I hear from time to time and I don’t mind listening to it. It amazes me that I was there and had done that.”
Bob Dylan , Rolling Stone Magazine, November 22, 2001
After hearing the two songs he recorded with Big Joe Williams, I’m not surprised he was so pleased with the outcome of the session!
New Morning rear cover photo:
From the Bob Dylan Who’s Who at Expecting Rain:
From the article “Big Joe Williams – Memory of the Road”” in the March/April issue of Blues Revue magazine:
“_A very young Bob Dylan had been similarly impressed with Williams’ performances and begana kind of musical partnership with Williams when Big Joe was booked in the fall of 1961 by [Bob] Koester [founder of Delmark Records], at Gerde’s Folk City in New York City. Joe performed regularly during a two week period with Dylan frequently sitting in. They were billed as Big Joe and Little Joe, or Joe Junior. Len Kunstadt was subsequently talked into letting Dylan play for some of Williams’ studio sessions by his wife, Victoria Spivey. These sides were later released on an album featuring tracks by Victoria, Lonnie Johnson, and Roosevelt Sykes entitled Three Kings and a Queen. Dylan played harp behind Williams driving guitar and raspy vocals on “Sitting on Top of the World” and “Wichita”_.