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Back Where Billy Boy Arnold Belongs

Bill Wasserzieher, Southland Blues, December 1996

WHAT TO MAKE of one Billy Boy Arnold? First there's that nickname "Boy." Has anybody, other than John-Boy on The Waltons, ever liked being called that? It's not exactly a compliment, like being stuck with Little David because dad's Big David. Plus there's that whole African American "don't call me boy" thing. But it's the name Arnold has gone by since his first record appeared on the Chicago's mite-sized Cool label in 1952. He was 17 at the time and reportedly didn't know that's what the label was going to tag him until the first 78s turned up in neighborhood shops.

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