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Big Bill Broonzy

Although William Lee Conley “Big Bill” Broonzy achieved fame and success in the Chicago blues scene and the folk revival in the United States and abroad, some of his earliest encounters with the blues and his earliest experiences as a performer and song writer were in Arkansas. Born in Scott, Mississippi, on June, 26 1893, to Frank Broonzy and Mittie Belcher, Big Bill Broonzy was one of seventeen children. Broonzy soon moved with his family to the Pine Bluff area (Jefferson County), where he spent most of his childhood years. He began performing music at an early age, playing for social and church events on the fiddle, which he learned from his uncle, Jerry Belcher. In addition to odd jobs as a musician, Broonzy also served briefly as a pastor in the Pine Bluff area before 1918.

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