Big Joe Williams

Birth Name:
Joseph Lee Williams
Birth Date:
December 17, 1982
Birth Place:
Near Crawford, Lowndes County, Mississippi
Death Date:
December 17, 1982
Place of Death:
Macon, Mississippi
Cause of Death:
Natural causes
Cemetery Name:
Crigler Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
As a first generation bluesman, Joseph Lee "Big Joe" Williams recorded more often, performed longer and lived longer than almost all of his contemporaries. In 1935 Williams recorded his signature song “Baby Please Don’t Go,” which has been covered by dozens of artists including Muddy Waters, Van Morrison (with the band Them), and Bob Dylan (who played harmonica on a Big Joe session in 1962).

Fun Fact

Ok, this goes out to all the gearheads out their wondering just what, exactly, is a 9-string acoustic guitar. Any description of his guitar is inadequate. It starts with a big flat-top Sovereign acoustic, amplified as an afterthought. Masking tape holds the body together and keeps the pick-up from falling out. An extra set of pegs is attached to the top of the head, and the holes are drilled in the bridge to accommodate the three extra strings. These double the first, second and fourth strings. The guitar is tuned in G (open tuning): d-g-d-d-g-b-b-d-d. Joe plays with the first, sometimes the second fret capoed.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Crigler Cemetery

3154-3272 Crigler Road

Crawford, Mississippi, 39743


North America

Grave Location:

Williams Family Plot

Grave Location Description

From Crawford City Hall in downtown Crawford, Mississippi drive 4.3 miles to Bethesda Road (unpaved). Turn left on Bethesda and drive .5 miles to the fork at the church on the right. Stay to the right and drive 1.0 miles to the end of the road. Turn left onto Crigler Road and drive to the first curve in the road just past the house on your right. Look to your right and you will see Big Joe’s upright monument from the road in the overgrown small cemetery.

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