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The Blues Soul Of Billy Boy Arnold

Billy Boy Arnold

Stony Plain Records 2014

Review by David Bowling


The first generation of Delta Blues artists are gone and the second generation of pre-World War II artists are leaving the scene. Such is not the case, however, for the 79 year old, Chicago born vocalist/harpist Billy Boy Arnold who is still active on the road and in the studio.

Billy Boy Arnold’s career now stretches back over a half-century. His harp can be heard on Bo Diddley’s classic performance of “I’m A Man” and his early releases for the Vee Jay label are highly collectable.

For his new album, The Blues Soul Of Billy Boy Arnold, he has wisely used the services of modern day bluesman Duke Robillard as a guitarist and producer. Robillard has few peers as a guitarist, plus his lifetime emersion in the blues serves Arnold well as a producer.

The 14 tracks move in a number of directions and cover a number of styles. There are some Billy Boy original compositions, a few blues standards, and some old soul songs. Through it all Arnold’s worn but passionate voice and his precision harp play serve as reminders of what the blues are all about.

Arnold was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2013. The Blues Soul Of Billy Boy Arnold is a good indication why.

Rating: ***1/2