BILLY BOY ARNOLD
THE BLUES SOUL OF BILLY BOY ARNOLD
STONY PLAIN CD SPCD 1378
COAL MAN–I’D RATHER DRINK MUDDY WATER–YOU GAVE ME NOTHING TO GO ON–99 LBS–A MOTHER’S PRAYER–ST. JAMES INFIRMARY–DON’T SET ME FREE–WHAT’S ON THE MENU, MAMA–WORRIED DREAM–NADINE (IS IT YOU)–WORK SONG–DANCE FOR ME BABY–AIN’T THAT JUST LIKE A WOMAN–KEEP ON RUBBING
The name Billy Boy Arnold has been synonymous with the finest in blues harp for more than fifty years. His sides for Chicago’s Vee-Jay label are classics, and his latest CD for Stony Plain, “The Blues Soul Of Billy Boy Arnold,” pairs him with guitarist and producer Duke Robillard, as well as an All-Star backing band that includes the Roomful Of Blues horns.
This set includes some Billy Boy originals, some classics, and some of Billy’s favorites. He starts off with the soul-blues infusion of Mack Rice’s “Coal Man,” and keeps that groove going with the rat-a-tat beat of “You Give Me Nothing To Go On.”
Billy’s originals capture the spirit and passion of his classic sides, especially the chugging “Dance For Me Baby,” and the full-on Chicago blues sound of “What’s On The Menu, Mama.” This one features excellent acoustic piano from Bruce Bears, and an extended solo from the Duke. And, the set closes with Billy’s good-time, double-entendre’-filled “Keep On Rubbing.”
Billy taps into some jazzy roots on a couple of cuts, too. “Work Song” recounts the tale of “breaking up the rocks out here on the chain gang,” while “Don’t Set Me Free” has a Ray Charles-ish feel, set over a cha-cha beat.
We had three favorites, too. Duke Robillard has a good time on guitar on “Nadine (Is It You). And, the whole band has a swingin’ good time on two classics, “I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water,” and “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman.”
Billy Boy Arnold has long wanted to record an album of his favorites that crossed several genres’. With the help of Duke Robillard and the rest of the incredible band, “The Blues Soul Of Billy Boy Arnold” has come to fruition! Until next time..Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.