"This is old-school at its finest.Torch-bearer Arnold and his cohorts keep the flame burning brightly on one of the BEST TRADITIONAL BLUES ALBUMS OF THE YEAR!" BLUES REVUE Magazine 2005
"Mac Arnold has a muscular vocal style that knocks me out !" JAZZNOW Magazine
Mac Arnold must have known at an early age that his music career would read like a "Who's who" of Blues/R&B legends. His high school band "J. Floyd& the Shamrocks" were often joined by none other than Macon, Georgia native, James Brown on piano. After deciding to pursue a professional music career, he joined the Charles Miller group until 1965 when he made the move to Chicago to work with recording artist/saxophonist A. C. Reed.
In late 1966, at age 24, came the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Muddy Waters Band and help shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60's and early 70's. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop.The Muddy Waters Band (as a unit) shared the stage with the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, and Big Mama Thornton ("Hound Dog") just to name a few. During this time, Mac played on John Lee Hooker's "live" album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, as well as Otis Spann's classic recording The Blues Is Where It's At, which is still rated a five star CD today.
After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed The Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King. In the early 70's, he moved to Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and Laff Records (Red Foxx). This led to working on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then working with Bill Withers ("Lean on Me" ) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80's.
Mac now resides in Pelzer, SC, where at age ten he got his first taste of the blues when he learned to play his brother Leroy's home-made gas can guitar. Going back to his roots, Mac is serving up a mess of Blues with his own band, "MAC ARNOLD & PLATE FULL O' BLUES". The band consists of Mark McMakin on bass and vocals; Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals; Max Hightower on keyboards, harmonica and guitar; Mike Whitt on drums , and of course Mac Arnold on bass , vocals , and home-made gas can guitar . In the same way Mac shared the stage with some of the most influential Blues/R & B legends of his day, these guys will be fortunate to be in a band with one of the original masters of blues, Mr. Mac Arnold. Bring your appetite and get ready to "Pig Out" on a Plate Full O' Blues!
MAC & MUDDY
In 1965, having already established himself back home as a bass player, playing with J Floyd & the Shamrocks including James Brown on keyboard , Mac Arnold decided to take a trip to Chicago to check out the Blues scene. He was obviously impressed because 3 months later 24 year old Mac packed up and moved to the Windy City to expand his music career.
There was a club called the Green Bunny Club on 77 & Halstead St. where Mac first met his sax man A. C. Reed who at the time needed a bass player. Mac was the right man for the job. He played with A. C. for only a short time when he got a chance to play with Muddy Waters. He was asked to come out to Big John's Grill on the North side to sit in with the band. Muddy asked him where he was from, he replied Greenville, South Carolina. Muddy said, "son, if you're from the South, then you can play," and so he did for over a year. His first gig with Muddy was the Mother Blues Club. The band's line up was Luther Johnson on guitar, Sammy Lawhorn on guitar, Frances Clay on drums, Otis Spann on piano, Mac Arnold on bass, and Muddy on guitar and vocals. The band would play most of the show and Muddy would play the end of the set. On occasions he would play every other set. This gave the guys a chance to show their stuff. Mac had an edge because he'd been working with James Brown in the past. A lot of people had yet to of heard of James Brown, so when Mac would play that funky stuff, it got a lot of people's attention. Mac is a left handed bass player, and if you listen to some of his early recordings, you will hear he was way ahead of his time.
The band would tour from the East to West Coast and all points in between. Cruisin' in a 1965 Fleetwood Cadillac, all 7 band members and the driver (Bo) at the wheel. Bo could drive almost non-stop from St. Louis to San Francisco with no sleep. One time they were passing through Mississippi, they stopped in to see some of Muddy's relatives and wound up doing a show. Mac stayed at Muddy's cousin's house, and when L. A. he would stay with George Smith and his family of 6 kids. While touring the West Coast, Mac fell in love with the California weather. When he returned to Chicago he told his wife "we're moving."
Mac talked to Muddy and told him he would give him time to find another bass player. Muddy wished him luck and said "he would have him back any time," and that was it. Mac is one of the last surviving members of that Muddy Water's era, and so Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues begins.
5 out of 5 stars Old time Chicago blues, October 11, 2005
Reviewer: Willy (Hazlet, N.J.) - See all my reviews
If you like traditional Chicago blues then this cd is for you.All orginal
songs and Mac Arnold has a great blues voice that sounds like Willie Kent.He
has a very tight band with Max Hightower playing not only slide guitar but a
great blues harp.This has got to be a WC Handy nominee for best album of the
year in 2005.
Nothin’ To Prove is consistent “good blues” through and through, one of the best CD’s I’ve had the privilege of reviewing and previewing. Cornbread says go and get this CD y’all, you won’t be disappointed. Visit Mac on the web at www.macarnold.com. Rating 4.835 â€" wow!
Ciao' for now, peace.
Peter 'Cornbread' Cohen, CBP
~ Cornbread@STLBlues.net ~
Mac Arnold is just great, a powerful blues singer. This is the blues I love:
traditional, non-nonsence, played from the heart. The song "She's So Mean To
Me" made my jaw drop and I'm sure that will do the same with my listeners.
Przemek Draheim (The Voice Of The Blues) Brawo 92.8 FM Ciechocinek (Poland)
Mike Halmo here WBOR, 91.1 FM Brunswick, Maine. Mac's cd charted here at WBOR last month as number 8 in our top 25. This ranking was sent to Living Blues Magazine. Personally, I think this disc rocks. Mac's vocals are strong, powerful yet not overbearing. Great band, tight and rocking but with just the right hint of bluesy felling to them. Down home blues at it's best with a great master of the genre and legend that I believe has just been rediscovered. Awesome blues from someone who's been there!
Best to you and regards to Mac
"Mac was in pretty good shape when he came in to Muddy's band in '66. He's had some pretty good training, outside
of me hollering at him. He understood the arrangements more than most of 'em."
"Francis Clay" Sunday, November 13, 2005