Friday, September 30, 2005

I wish you would - Billy Boy Arnold - a forgotten classic
This year sees the anniversary of many great records - 1955 was one of the best. A reissue of the classic Bo Diddley/I'm a Man had been done by Chess but I thought it might be interesting to look at another unsung masterpiece of 55 'I wish You would'.
Billy Boy Arnold was part of the wave of 2nd generation Chicago bluesmen although Billy Boy picked up his harp style not only from records but also from the great John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson. Billy Boy played with Bo on the streets of Chicago perfecting their distinctive 'African' style sound - complete with maraccas and a repetitive hypnotic riff. An early dub of Bo Diddley caught the ear of Chess records and an audition was set up. Billy Boy was told by Bo after the session that Leonard Chess thougth his style too dirivative of Sonny Boy's and so Billy Boy took his self to Chess's rival VeeJay. The result was 'I Wish You Would' - reputably the first use of electric bass on record in Chicago. Unfortunately Chess considered this competition for 'Bo Diddley' and had strings pulled to keep the record off the air, and so the record wasnt as much of a smash as it should be. Listen to Billy Boy classic 45 here

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