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VCV: Billy Boy Arnold – “She’s Love Crazy”

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Time has taken so many of the legends and pioneering talents of the blues its easy to forget how many of them are not only still with us but are still capable of recording great, classic material. I didn't know Billy Boy Arnold was still with us until I got my copy of Chicago Blues – A Living History and boy, is he still with us.

Perhaps the only subject more important to the blues than the blues itself is sex. The blues tradition of outlandish, sexually charged braggadocio – a tradition that has carried over to other genres – sometimes borders on silliness. What is less common is the idea of a bluesman struggling to keep up with the demand of his ladyfriend, but that's the story of “She's Love Crazy.” I keep waiting for Isaac Hayes to pop up somewhere in the middle to exclaim, “Damn, woman! I just gave you sweet lovin'!”

What makes this performance of the “She's Love Crazy” enjoyable is that it's coming from 74-year old Billy Boy Arnold. Bluesmen would make this kind of boast until their dying breath even when every other commercial on television wasn't for some type of erectile-dysfunction pill, but we do and that gives the song an unintentional humor and Arnold sounds like he's in on the joke. He and I may be laughing at different things but you can hear the smile in Arnold's voice and at different points it sounds like he's on the verge of cracking up, too.

It's a shame Arnold doesn't break out his harp for a quick solo as he does on other songs he performed for this collection, but the charming, smooth vocal on “She's Love Crazy” make this a highlight of the set.

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