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I was just a dream, just a dream I had on my mind. Yeah when I woke up baby not a thing could I find. ”

Lyrics from It Was Just A Dream

It’s hard to imagine anyone better equipped than Billy Boy Arnold to do a Big Bill Broonzy tribute CD. As a child growing up on Chicago’s South Side, Billy Boy was captivated by the recordings that Big Bill and his musical colleagues made in the 1930s and ‘40s. He was particularly inspired by the music made by Big Bill’s friend, harmonica master John Lee “Sonny Boy No. 1” Williamson, whom the enterprising 12-year old Billy Boy sought out for several private lessons. A few years later, thanks to an introduction from pianist Blind John Davis, Billy Boy got the chance to meet and talk with Big Bill. He saw the older bluesman perform numerous times, in venues ranging from blues clubs on the South and West Side to the prestigious Blue Note jazz club downtown in the Loop. In fact, at one point in the 1950s, the up-and-coming harmonica player and singer even asked Big Bill if he would consider making a record with him. “I wanted Big Bill to play on it because he played with Sonny Boy,” Billy Boy recalls. “I wanted to get that same sound.” But Big Bill declined the offer, suggesting to Billy Boy that he instead ask the members of the Aces, who were then backing Little Walter and were emerging as a formidable musical powerhouse in their own right. Billy Boy believes that Big Bill clearly recognized that his style of guitar playing “wasn’t what was happening,” and therefore steered Billy Boy in the direction of more contemporary players. Over the intervening six decades, Billy Boy has established an international reputation for his distinctive set of contributions to the Chicago blues tradition. Through his recordings and performances, as well as his exceptional powers of recall and his engaging storytelling abilities, he has been both an invaluable witness to blues history and a noteworthy figure in making it. Now, with Billy Boy Arnold Sings Big Bill Broonzy, he has been able to fulfill his longtime wish of recording the music of one of the bluesmen he most admires.
Billy Boy Arnold
A revered Chicago bluesman interprets the songs of a classic blues master
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