|He used to claim
to be the first Sonny Boy Williamson and sometimes that he was the only one,
though anybody with half an ear could tell that his bleating harmonica and sly,
half-spoken vocals were a different approach altogether from his forerunners.
He was born Alex "Rice" Miller in Glendora, Mississippi. In the 1930's he played with Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Howlin' Wolf. In the 1940's he became widely known for his King Biscuit Time broadcasts on the KFFA radio station in Helena, Arkansas and his roadwork with the King Biscuit Entertainers, a shifting assortment of musicians that included Robert Junior Lockwood, the pianist Willie Love and the drummer James "Peck" Curtis.
He made his first recordings for Trumpet between 1951 and 54 among them the original versions of 'Eyesight To The Blind' and 'Nine Below Zero'. In Detroit he worked with the singer-guitarist Baby Boy Warren while in Chicago he opened an eight -year association with Checker Records with 'Don't Start Me Talkin'. His album Down and Out Blues was a set book for British R&B bands in the 1960's, as was his 1963 single 'Help Me' with its organ figure out of Booker T & The M.G.'s 'Green Onions'.
In Europe, which Williamson first visited with the 1963 AFBF, he was appreciated for his Mephistophelean goatee, two tone suits and meandering reminiscences, which he developed into a new free-form blues genre on two Storyville albums with Matt Murphy and Memphis Slim. He also recorded in Britain with the Yardbirds (including Eric Clapton), the Animals and the organist Brian Auger.
Long after his death, KFFA continued to broadcast his old taped shows.