WILLIAM LEE CONLEY BROONZY.
( Big Bill Broonzy )
1893/8 - 1958.


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William Lee Conley Broonzy is born in Scott, Mississippi, on 26 June 1898 (Some sources give the year of birth as 1893). The Broonzy family leaves Mississippi for Pine Bluff, Arkansas in 1900.

In 1908 Bill makes himself a violin out of a cigar box and a guitar for his friend Louis Carter from some goods boxes.

Bill joins the US Army in 1918.

He makes his first recordings, songs such as 'Big Bill Blues' and 'Gonna Tear it Down' in 1926 but Paramount does not release them, but the following year 'House Rent Stomp' is released.

1930 a new decade beings, Bill is recording almost continuously, sometimes solo, sometimes accompanying other musicians.

Bill begins recording for ARC (subsequently Columbia) in 1932, an association that will late until 1947.

He appears at the Spirituals to Swing concert at New York's Carnegie Hall in 1938 and two years later makes such popular recordings as 'Make My Getaway', 'Looking for My Baby' and 'Medicine Man Blues'.

After a three year absence from the studio, Bill resumes recording in 1945 for Columbia.

In 1950 Bill takes a job a janitor at Iowa State College, the following year he makes his first visit to Europe.

Bill records for Chess in 1953, and two year later, makes another European tour and records the material now issued as The 1955 London Sessions.He makes Last Sessions for Verve in 1957.

Big Bill Broonzy dies from cancer on 15 August 1958.


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