Must listen masterpiece Big Bill Broonzy’s song “Hey Hey”
He has influenced the Pre- and Post war blues scene, and in his early years he made fame as a folk blues musician. But when he moved to Chicago we really found out this bluesman from the south was a big man in Blues. The influence of Big Bill Broonzy on other musicians is huge.
Muddy Waters released a full length album with Big Bill’s work and Eric Clapton made a successful cover of the hit song “Hey Hey”. Clapton’s version was part of his unplugged album. The original “Hey Hey” by Broonzy is in my world an absolute favorite.
Big Bill’s playing style in ‘Hey Hey’
The way Big Bill Broonzy plays the difficult but catchy guitar riff is inspiring. In the version that was recorded live in 1956 you see a laid back Broonzy playing “Hey Hey” in a silent bar. Everybody in the audience is amazed, I guess, by the song Big Bill plays. I can watch this song over and over again and stay amazed by the smooth guitar playing style of Big Bill Broonzy.
Video: Big Bill Broony – Hey Hey (Live 1956)
Big Bill Broonzy – Sixteen Tons
Another song where Big Bill Broonzy shows his talent is the folk blues song ‘Sixteen Tons’.This song features great vocals of Big Bill. The subject of the song is said, and recalls the story of the hard working man “who owes his soul to the company store” . It all reaches a poetic level which you will find in the rhythm of the lines and the spot on representation of the reality those days.
I was born one morning when the sun didn’t shine,
Picked up my shovel and I went to the mine
I loaded sixteen ton of number nine coal,
The straw-boss said, “God-dog your soul”
You load sixteen tons and, now, what do you get,
Another day older and deeper in debt
So, St. Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go,
I owe my soul to the company store
” Blues is a natural fact, is something that a fellow lives. If you don’t live it you don’t have it. Young people have forgotten to cry the blues. Now they talk and get lawyers and things”.
– Big Bill Broonzy –