He played regularly at rent parties and social gatherings, steadily improving his guitar playing. [28], By 1958 Broonzy was suffering from throat cancer. Record sales continued to be poor, and Broonzy was working at a grocery store. [25][26], In 1953, Vera (King) Morkovin and Studs Terkel took Broonzy to Circle Pines Center, a cooperative year-round camp in Delton, Michigan, where he was employed as the summer camp cook. Broonzy claimed to have been born in Scott, Mississippi, but a body of emerging research compiled by the blues historian Robert Reisman suggests that he was born in Jefferson County, Arkansas. Before he could respond to the offer, his wife took the money and spent it, so he had to play. [36], In the September 2007 issue of Q Magazine, Ronnie Wood, of the Rolling Stones, cited Broonzy's track "Guitar Shuffle" as his favorite guitar music. [3], Born Lee Conley Bradley,[2] he was one of the seventeen children of Frank Broonzy (Bradley) and Mittie Belcher. "[37] Clapton featured Broonzy's song "Hey Hey" on his album Unplugged. During this time he wrote one of his signature tunes, a solo guitar piece called "Saturday Night Rub". His career began in the 1920s, when he played country blues to mostly African-American audiences. [27], In 1955, with the assistance of the Belgian writer Yannick Bruynoghe, Broonzy published his autobiography, Big Bill Blues. [1] [2] [3] Contents [10] These recordings sold better, and Broonzy was becoming better known. Dr. Joseph Lowery paraphrased Broonzy's song "Black, Brown and White Blues". [12], In 1930, Paramount for the first time used Broonzy's full name on a recording, "Station Blues" – albeit misspelled as "Big Bill Broomsley". In 1957 Broonzy was one of the founding faculty members of the Old Town School of Folk Music. When the second American Federation of Musicians strike ended in 1948, Broonzy was signed by Mercury Records. Broonzy copyrighted more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including both adaptations of traditional folk songs and original blues songs. Find the latest tracks, albums, and images from Big Bill Broonzy. Broonzy's recorded output through the 1930s only partially reflects his importance to Chicago blues. He began playing music at an early age. Albums include Big Bill Broonzy Sings Folk Songs, Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey, and Good Time Tonight. [32] The song has been used globally in education about racism, but in the late 1990s its inclusion in antiracism education at a school in Greater Manchester, England, led pupils to taunt the school's only black pupil with the song's chorus, "If you're white, that's all right, if you're brown, stick around, but if you're black, oh brother get back, get back, get back". After the concert, people start calling him “Big Bill” Broonzy. In March 1938 he began recording for Vocalion Records.[16]. May 4, 1956 live at Club Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark; Big Bill Broonzy, voc, g A considerable part of Broonzy's early ARC/CBS recordings has been reissued in anthologies by CBS-Sony, and other earlier recordings have been collected on blues reissue labels, as have his European and Chicago recordings of the 1950s. Listen to music from Big Bill Broonzy. From 1953 on, his financial position became more secure, and he was able to live well on his earnings from music. Many of Broonzy's singles were issued by more than one record company, sometimes under different names. Martha 5. The revue had some success thanks to the emerging folk revival. The records sold poorly. Alberta 8. In 2007, he was inducted into the first class of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame, along with 11 other musical greats, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Gene Autry, and Lawrence Welk. One of his best-known songs, "Key to the Highway", appeared at this time. [10], Thanks to his association with Jackson, Broonzy was able to get an audition with Paramount executive J. Mayo Williams. [16], Broonzy expanded his work during the 1940s as he honed his songwriting skills, which showed a knack for appealing to his more sophisticated city audience as well as people that shared his country roots. On July 4, 1954, Pete Seeger travelled to Circle Pines and gave a concert with Broonzy on the farmhouse lawn, which was recorded by Seeger for the new fine-arts radio station in Chicago, WFMT-FM. Between 1927 and 1942, Broonzy recorded 224 songs, which makes him the second most prolific blues recording artist during that period. Big Bill Broonzy Biography by Uncle Dave Lewis. He returned to his solo folk-blues roots and travelled and recorded extensively. [23] John Lennon, of the Beatles, also cited Broonzy as an important early influence.