Talk about a comeback. After too many years away from the studio, Chicago harpist Billy Boy Arnoldreturned to action in a big way with two fine albums for Alligator: 1993's Back Where I Belongand 1995's Eldorado Cadillac. Retaining his youthful demeanor despite more than four decades of blues experience, Arnold's wailing harp and sturdy vocals remained in top-flight shape following the lengthy recording layoff.
Born in Chicago rather than in Mississippi (as many of his musical forefathers were), young Arnoldgravitated right to the source in 1948. He summoned up the courage to knock on the front door of his idol, harmonica great John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, who resided nearby. Sonny Boykindly gave the lad a couple of harp lessons, but their relationship was quickly severed when Williamsonwas tragically murdered. Still in his teens, Arnoldcut his debut 78 for the extremely obscure Cool logo in 1952. "Hello Stranger" went nowhere but gave him his nickname when its label unexpectedly read "Billy Boy Arnold."