Apr 20, 2021
I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy
Posted by Bob Riesman Peter Guralnick Pete Townshend

A major figure in American blues and folk music, Big Bill Broonzy 1903 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 A major figure in American blues and folk music, Big Bill Broonzy 1903 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 Riesman s groundbreaking biography tells the compelling life story of a lost figure from the annals of music history I Feel So Good traces Big Bill 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 Riesman 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 Broonzy s profound impact on the British rockers who would follow him and change the course of popular music Along the way, Riesman details Big Bill 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 li

  • Title: I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy
  • Author: Bob Riesman Peter Guralnick Pete Townshend
  • ISBN: 9780226717456
  • Page: 269
  • Format: Hardcover
  • I Feel So Good The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy A major figure in American blues and folk music Big Bill Broonzy left his Arkansas Delta home after World War I headed north and became the leading Chicago bluesman of the s His succe

    Tim

    Big Bill Broonzy proved to be a pliable, accommodating bluesman by changing with the times and giving people what they wanted, from hokum to a urbane strain of country blues to bigger blues ensembles featuring horns to, finally, a rebirth as a folk folk blues artist in the 1950s Broonzy s reinvention of himself musically mirrored his reshaping of his own history, as Bob Riesman s fine biography, I Feel So Good, attests Riesman notes that Broonzy s 1955 autobiography, Big Bill Blues had its way [...]


    Ronn

    Big Bill was the first blues musician that I listened to extensively, discovering him as a teenager around 1970 I knew that his autobiography was largely augmented truth, but I didnt know just how little I knew about him until I read this book This is an essential read for all fans of blues and folk music.


    Al Young

    Broonzy is maybe not as heralded as other bluesmen, but he is a big influence, so I was excited to see this offered as a free e book selection from The University of Chicago Press Those who have spoke of his influence include Clapton, Townsend who writes the into here , Elvis, the Kinks, Rory Gallagher, Steve Howe and many Phil and Dave Alvin just released an album of Broonzy covers earlier this year I am going to butcher the quote, but it s something like Clapton said he loved Broonzy for his [...]


    bertrand

    This monumental work is one of the very best Blues Bio you can ever own Impeccably researched and far reaching in its scope, it is truly a must read for anyone interested in classic and modern Blues history, it s relationship with English Rock n Roll, Trad Jazz, and the amazing journey of a major African American American artist Much of the Big Bill enigma is revealed, from intimate personal details, to how exactly he was the first solid and long lasting bridge to bring the Blues to Europe in pe [...]


    Jeff

    A superb biography of a true blues giant Broonzy was a star of 30 s and 40 s Chicago blues, cutting hundreds of records marketed to the black blues buying public He also played on dozens of sessions backing other artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson I, Washboard Sam, Jazz Gillum and others Predating the blues boom of the 60 s, Broonzy crossed over in the 50 s playing and gearing his music to white audiences at home and abroad Untangling Broonzy s story could not have been easy as Broonzy s stori [...]


    Mark

    Fascinating, if somewhat dry and scholarly, account of one of the most important musicians and most outsized personalities in American music Riesman does a good job of approximating the truth about the life of a man who cared about telling a good story, including about himself, than he did about strict fidelity to facts Good side portraits of his contemporaries ranging from Muddy Waters to Pete Seeger to Studs Terkel A serious but very entertaining biography of a complicated man.


    Brett Bydairk

    A good biography, although the author is a real apologist for the many biographical facts Bill himself gave throughout his life He conflated and condensed these events to show his narrative power he restated this event to make a point, etc But at least the author does present the truth as much as we will probably ever know it about the man born Lee Conley Bradley, and so this is a welcome addition to the bookshelf of musical biographies.


    Nan

    Before reading this, the one Broonzy song I knew was Hey, Hey via Eric Clapton While reading this, a lot of the book s references went over my head However, there s no denying that Bob Riesman had a tough job culling from a pile of possibly embellished oral and written records which he was able to turn into not just a straightforward biography, but also brief social and cultural histories of Chicago s and the South s music scenes circa Broonzy s lifespan 1903 1958.


    Phil Overeem

    Haven t listened to much Big Bill mainly for the reasons that Riesman very skillfully subjects to critical analysis here His writing s a bit workmanlike for my tastes, and I ve read a lot of these kinds of books, but he succeeds in renovating Broonzy s rep and presenting him as a pathfinder in many respects.


    University of Chicago Magazine

    Bob Riesman, AM 88AuthorFrom our pages Sept Oct 11 Bob Riesman s biography of the early 20th century Chicago blues star follows his personal life and career, with stories f his performances in jazz clubs and concert halls His life is also recounted through interviews with Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, and Ray Davies, who discuss how Broonzy inspired their music.


    David Burke

    For pre electric blues fans This is a bio that will put the facts in order seeing as Big Bill s autobiography was less than accurate A great read and an inspiration for guitarists and musicians in general.


    Christopher Klug

    Starts a little slow, but picks up in the middle, and then ends rather abruptly.All in all, a very good book, worth reading.


    John

    Interesting subject matter, but I just could not get into the book The writing was too flat and factual for me The introduction of the characters was always the same.



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      269 Bob Riesman Peter Guralnick Pete Townshend
    I Feel So Good: The Life and Times of Big Bill Broonzy