Allman Brothers Band, Billy Boy Arnold, Bo Diddley, Eric Clapton, Good Morning Schoolgirl, Jimmy Reed, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Otis Spann, The Unbroken Circle, The Yardbirds, Willie Dixon, You Don't Love Me
A few weeks ago I was at the City Winery in New York City, watching Phil and Dave Alvin perform a set of acoustic blues, when they brought out Chicago harmonica player Billy Boy Arnold, harmonica player for Bo Diddley. As a solo artist Billy Boy recorded “I Wish You Would” and “I Ain’t Got You” which were famously covered by the Yardbirds. (Bo Diddley’s “She’s Fine, She’s Mine” with Billy Boy blowing his harp was the first recording of the song that became “You Don’t Love Me,” recorded as an extended jam by the Allman Brothers and forming the entire second side of “At Fillmore East.” That story will be in the book The Unbroken Circle.)
After the show I caught up with Billy, who has clear memories of his recordings in the 1950’s, just as the blues and R&B were giving birth to rock and roll. Billy has a lot of great memories; today’s post will focus on Billy’s most influential recordings and his relationship with Leonard Chess.