A South Carolina native, Arnold began playing music in the 1950s when he and his brother built a guitar from a steel gas can, broomsticks, wood, nails and screen wire. His first band, J Floyd & the Shamrocks, included a young James Brown on piano. Arnold moved to Chicago in 1965, where he joined the Muddy Waters’ band. As part of the Muddy Waters Band, Arnold helped shape the electric blues sound that inspired rock and roll of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. As a unit, the Muddy Waters Band shared the stage with Howlin’ Wolfe, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams and Big Mama Thornton. Arnold formed the Soul Invaders in 1967, where he backed up iconic musicians such as B.B. King, The Temptations, Otis Redding, John Lee Hooker, Little Milton and many others. He later moved to Los Angeles to work for ABC Television’s Soul Train band and also provided his distinctive bass lines for the theme song of the hit television show Sanford and Son.
Arnold has won numerous awards including the 2006 Folk Heritage Award and Best Historical Album of the Year 2010. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the University of South Carolina and was inducted into the Alabama Blues Hall of Fame in 2017. After retiring in the 1990s to become an organic farmer, Arnold later formed the Plate Full O’ Blues band in 2006.
Tickets: Adults $18; Students/K-12 $10; plus tax. All concerts are in the fully restored Lynn L. Shields Auditorium. Snacks and beverages are available for purchase in the Schoolhouse Cafe beginning at 6 pm.
Your tickets will be available at our ‘will call’ desk prior to the event. If you have any problems or questions, please call us during normal business hours at 828-479-3364.