Label: Document Records - DLP 539 • Format: Vinyl LP, Compilation, Limited Edition, Remastered, Mono • Country: Austria • Genre: Blues • Style: Chicago Blues
During his childhood, Broonzy's family -- itinerant sharecroppers and the descendants of ex-slaves -- moved to Pine Bluff to work the fields there.
Broonzy learned to play a cigar box fiddle from his uncle, Słowa Chore Od Słów - Lombard - Live as a teenager, he played violin in local churches, at community dances, and in a country string band.
Army, and in he moved to Chicago and worked in the factories for several years. Jackson took Broonzy under his wing, taught him guitar, and used him as an accompanist. Broonzy's entire first session at Paramount in was rejected, but he returned in November and succeeded in getting his first record, House Rent Stomp, onto Paramount wax.
As one of his early records came out with the garbled moniker of Big Bill Broomsley, he decided to shorten his recording name to Big Bill, and this served as his handle on records until after the second World War. Broonzy's earliest records do not demonstrate Going Back To My Plow - Big Bill Broonzy - Vol.2 (1935 - 1949) promise, but this would soon change. Although only half-a-dozen blues artists made any Going Back To My Plow - Big Bill Broonzy - Vol.2 (1935 - 1949) duringthe worst year in the history of the record business, one of them was Big Bill, who made 20 issued sides that year.
Through Georgia Tom and Tampa RedBig Bill met Memphis Minnie and toured as her second guitarist in the early '30s, but apparently did not record with her. When he did resume recording in March it was for Bluebird 's newly established Chicago studio under the direction of Lester Melrose.
Melrose liked Broonzy's style, and before long, Big Bill would begin working as Melrose's unofficial second-in-command, auditioning artists, matching numbers to performers, booking sessions, and providing backup support to other musicians.
He played on literally hundreds of records for Bluebird in the late '30s and into the '40s, including those made by his half-brother, Washboard SamPeter Chatman aka Memphis SlimJohn Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, and others.
With Melrose, Broonzy helped develop the " Bluebird beat," connoting a type of popular blues Year In Review - The Black Keys - Turn Blue that incorporated trap drums and upright string bass. This was the precursor of the "Maxwell Street sound" or "postwar Chicago blues," and helped to redefine the music in a format that would prove popular in the cities.
Ironically, while Broonzy was doing all this work for Melrose at Bluebirdhis own recordings as singer were primarily made for ARC, and later Columbia 's subsidiary Okeh. This was his greatest period, and during this time Broonzy wrote and recorded such songs as "Key to the Highway," "W. Blues," "All by Myself," and "Unemployment Stomp. When promoter John Hammond sought a traditional blues singer to perform at one of his Spirituals to Swing concerts held at Carnegie Hall in New York City, he was looking for Robert Johnson to foot the bill.
Hammond learned that Johnson had recently died, and as a result, Big Bill got the nod to appear at Carnegie Hall on February 5, By the mid- to late '40s, the operation in Chicago with Melrose had finally begun to wind down, just as electric blues started to heat up. Suddenly, Going Back To My Plow - Big Bill Broonzy - Vol.2 (1935 - 1949) started to get a lot of press attention, and by September of that year, he was in Paris recording for French Vogue.
On this occasion Broonzy was finally able to wax his tune "Black, Brown and White," a song about race relations that had been in his book for years, but every record company he had ever sung it for had turned it down.
In Europe, Broonzy proved incredibly popular, more so than at any time in the United States. Two separate documentary films were made on his life, in France and Belgium, respectively, and from until ill health finally put him out of the running in the fall ofBroonzy nearly doubled his own output in terms of new recordings. Broonzy updated his act by adding traditional folk songs to his set, along the lines of what Josh Hutje Aan De Zee - Various - Zuiderzeeballade and Leadbelly had done in then-recent times.
He took a tremendous amount of flak for doing so, as blues purists condemned Broonzy for turning his back on traditional blues style in order to concoct shows that were appealing to white tastes. But this misses the point of his whole life's work: Broonzy was always about popularizing blues, and he was the main pioneer in the entrepreneurial spirit as it applies to the field.
His songwriting, producing, and work as a go-between with Lester Melrose is exactly the sort of thing that Willie Dixon would do with Chess in the '50s. This was the part of his career that Broonzy himself valued most highly, and his latter-day fame and popularity were a just reward for a life spent working so hard on behalf of his given discipline and fellow musicians.
It would be a short reward, though; just about the time the autobiography he had written with Yannick Bruynoghe, Big Bill Blues, appeared inhe learned he had throat cancer. Big Bill Broonzy died at age 65 in August,and left a recorded legacy which, in sheer size and depth, well exceeds that of any blues artist born on his side of the year Listen to Big Bill Broonzy now.
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