The podcast that provides profiles of great harmonica players and technicians from around the world
Jan. 9, 2022

Billy Boy Arnold interview

Billy Boy Arnold interview

Billy Boy Arnold joins me on episode 53.

Today we have a little part of blues harmonica history, as Billy lived through the heyday of the blues in Chicago and was a peer of the many great players at the time, being born just five years after Little Walter himself. He took a couple of lessons with John Lee Williamson, aka SBWI, at just 12 years of age. 

Billy released his first record at the age of 17 and then went on to release two songs with Bo Diddley, including coming up with possibly the most well known harmonica riff ever on I’m A Man. Shortly afterwards Billy went on to record his harmonica classic, I Wish You Would. 

Billy took some time off from touring for a few years before he came back strong with two albums released through Alligator records in the 1990s. He has continued to record and release great albums until recently, and his passion for the harmonica is as infectious as ever after over 70 years of playing.


Links:
Discography:
https://www.wirz.de/music/arnoldbb.htm

More Blues On The South Side album:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML3xmmjhItU

The Blues Dream of Billy Boy Arnold book (by Kim Field):
https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo119945396.html

Kim Field website:
https://www.kimfield.com

Videos:

Tom Jones playing I Wish You Would live:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CgmJgQzcrI

American Blues Legends Tour 1975:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvUa_56XysM

Studio recording of song from SBWI album:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmqHIjTenHw

John Peel session with BBC from 1977:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAL-0nwbzZ8

Three Harp Boogie song with James Cotton and Paul Butterfield:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkHchw-sHzk


Podcast website:

https://www.harmonicahappyhour.com

Donations:

If you want to make a voluntary donation to help support the running costs of the podcast then please use this link (or visit the podcast website link above):
https://paypal.me/harmonicahappyhour?locale.x=en_GB

Spotify Playlist: 

Also check out the Spotify Playlist, which contains most of the songs discussed in the podcast:
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5QC6RF2VTfs4iPuasJBqwT?si=M-j3IkiISeefhR7ybm9qIQ

Podcast sponsor:

This podcast is sponsored by SEYDEL harmonicas - visit the oldest harmonica factory in the world at www.seydel1847.com  or on Facebook or Instagram at SEYDEL HARMONICAS