Kokomo Arnold / Feb 15, 1901 - Nov 8, 1968

James "Kokomo" Arnold may be the source of three famous blues songs: "Milk Cow Blues", "Sweet Home Chicago" was arranged by Robert Johnson from "Kokomo Blues", and "Dust My Broom" was rooted in "Sagefield Woman Blues". He was quite popular in the '30s and played a mean left-handed bottleneck slide guitar in his own time signatures and presented a dynamic voice. He was originally from Georgia but moved north to Buffalo, Pittsburgh and then Chicago in the late '20s, where he was involved in the bootlegging game. He went to Memphis in '30 to make his first recording (under the name of Gitfiddle Jim). He cut 88 records for Decca in a four year stretch ('34-'38). He would occasionally work with Roosevelt Sykes and Peetie Wheatstraw and toured as far east as NYC and down south to Mississippi. He also cut a bi-sexual oriented tune "Sissy Man Blues" in '34 ("Lord, if you can't send me no woman, please send me some sissy man"). He quit the music biz in '38 and became a factory worker. He had no interest in coming back when asked during the folk-blues revival of the '60s. His tunes still stand and he proved a huge influence on Robert Johnson. His tunes have been covered by Aerosmith, Elvis, The Kinks and many more.

The OG "Milk Cow Blues":

Tagged: blues, Celebrate Icons, guitar, Kokomo Arnold

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