Bob Riesman's heralded 2011 Big Bill Broonzy biography, I Feel So Good: The Life And Times of Big Bill Broonzy (University of Chicago Press), is coming to paperback October 15.
I Feel So Good documents the life of the late Chicago blues legend by focusing on his early trips across the Atlantic in the 1950s. Broonzy, who was born in Arkansas, was one of the first Southern bluesmen to make waves in 1930s Chicago, blazing a trail for others who followed in his footsteps, including Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.
With his knack for blending country blues with electric guitar, Broonzy was one of the leading architects of the Chicago blues sound later made popular by Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and Paul Butterfield.
The hardback edition of the book, which earned praise from NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, has some serious fans in Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Pete Seeger and Ray Davies, all of whom where fans of Broonzy's music. Clapton called Broonzy "a role model for me" (He also covered several Broonzy songs, including "Key to the Highway"); Townshend hailed him as "my first blues crush."
The book features a foreword by music critic and historian Peter Guralnick.
Guitar World Exclusive
Check out this GuitarWorld.com exclusive photo of Broonzy's guitar in the hands of Billy Boy Arnold, one of the last remaining prewar Chicago bluesmen. The guitar is held at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and is only brought out on special occasions.
Riesman and Billy Boy Arnold will appear and perform at New York City's 92Y Tribeca on October 11. Click here for more information. Riesman will perform solo at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, on November 16.
Photo: Bob Riesman