Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Jr Lockwood: on film, 1942

Amazing colour film footage from 1942 of Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) and Robert Jr Lockwood playing on the front porch of an Arkansas grocery store in 1942.

It also features some shots of Williamson playing with his band in 1952.

No sound, but as one YouTube commenter wrote, “The music is there! You just can’t hear it”.

This is quite an amazing artifact. It was apparently shot by Max Moore, the owner of the King Biscuit Flour company which sponsored the now-legendary (an overused word, but in this context, highly appropriate) King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA in Helena Arkansas, where Sonny Boy hosted a live music show. In fact, it was at this time that Moore convinced Williamson to change his name from Rice Miller, copying that of fellow harmonica player  Sonny Boy Williamson (I) then playing in Chicago. Today, it’s SBW “the second” who is best known, in part because SBW “the first” died in 1948, and also because “the second” recorded for years with Chess Records in Chicago before his death in 1965.

Apparently there is a total of 4 minutes of film from 1942, and 12 from 1952. Below is a two-minute clip:

For some more information on SBW II, see or

And for Sonny Boy WITH sound (and with the great Otis Spann on piano):