Synopses & Reviews
A major figure in American blues and folk music, Big Bill Broonzy (1903andndash;1958) left his Arkansas Delta home after World War I, headed north, and became the leading Chicago bluesman of the 1930s. His success came as he fused traditional rural blues with the electrified sound that was beginning to emerge in Chicago. This, however, was just one step in his remarkable journey: Big Bill was constantly reinventing himself, both in reality and in his retellings of it. Bob Riesmanandrsquo;s groundbreaking biography tells the compelling life story of a lost figure from the annals of music history.
I Feel So Good traces Big Billandrsquo;s career from his rise as a nationally prominent blues star, including his historic 1938 appearance at Carnegie Hall, to his influential role in the post-World War II folk revival, when he sang about racial injustice alongside Pete Seeger and Studs Terkel. Riesmanandrsquo;s account brings the reader into the jazz clubs and concert halls of Europe, as Big Bill's overseas tours in the 1950s ignited the British blues-rock explosion of the 1960s. Interviews with Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, and Ray Davies reveal Broonzyandrsquo;s profound impact on the British rockers who would follow him and change the course of popular music.
Along the way, Riesman details Big Billandrsquo;s complicated and poignant personal saga: he was married three times and became a father at the very end of his life to a child half a world away. He also brings to light Big Billandrsquo;s final years, when he first lost his voice, then his life, to cancer, just as his international reputation was reaching its peak. Featuring many rarely seen photos, I Feel So Good will be the definitive account of Big Bill Broonzyandrsquo;s life and music.
About the Author
Bob Riesman is coeditor of Chicago Folk: Images of the Sixties Music Scene: The Photographs of Raeburn Flerlage. He produced and cowrote the television documentary American Roots Music: Chicago, and was a contributor to Routledgeandrsquo;s Encyclopedia of the Blues.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Peter Guralnick
Appreciation by Pete Townshend
1 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
2 My Name Is William Lee Conley Broonzy
3 When Will I Get to Be Called a Man?
4 Letand#8217;s Go Away from Here!
5 and#8220;Iand#8217;m Gonna Play This Guitar Tonight from A to Z!and#8221;
6 Serve It to Me Right
7 State Street Boys
8 Just a Dream
9 Big Bill and Josh Are Here to Play the Blues for You
10 Preachinand#8217; the Blues
11 Blues at Midnight
12 and#8220;Thatand#8217;s the Nicest Guy I Ever Met in My Lifeand#8221;
13 Stranger in a Strange Land
14 Nourish Yourself on Big Bill
15 and#8220;Be Proud of What You Are!and#8221;
16 Too Many Isms
17 Low Light and Blue Smoke
18 and#8220;A Requiem for the Bluesand#8221;
Bill on Film
A gallery of photographs follows