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Jazz Beat 57 - Billy Boy Arnold Part One

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Billy Boy Arnold

For Jazz Beat 57 and 58, Tom Reney spoke with Billy Boy Arnold about his autobiography, THE BLUES DREAM OF BILLY BOY ARNOLD (written with Kim Field). Born in 1935 and one of the few surviving bluesmen of the golden age of Chicago Blues, Arnold recounts his youthful fascination with John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, and the ebb and flow of his long career as a singer and harmonica player. In both the book and his conversation with Tom, he offers keen, good-humored insights about Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Otis Rush, Elmore James, and Paul Butterfield; his experiences recording for Chess and Vee-Jay Records; and the career revival he’s enjoyed since Eric Clapton and others began covering his songs. The interview is interspersed with classic Chicago blues by Arnold and his colleagues.

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Tom was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association with the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Career Excellence in Broadcasting in 2019. In addition to hosting Jazz à la Mode since 1984, Tom writes the jazz blog and produces the Jazz Beat podcast at NEPM. He began working in jazz radio in 1977 at WCUW, a community-licensed radio station in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tom holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he majored in English and African American Studies.