One of the finest guitar players on the
British music scene, Bobby Arnold has been a premier league
performer for many years, earning the respect of fellow
musicians and country music fans both at home and abroad.
Receiving many standing ovations and well earned applause over
the years for his musical prowess, nicer guy you couldn’t wish
to meet! Bobby Arnold is one of the friendliest people in
country music, always finding the time for a chat and giving the
impression that he has got all the time in the world for the
country music fans.
His musical career started at about 8
years of age when an elderly neighbour showed him how to
strum a few chords on the guitar during the school holidays.
This interest in the guitar grew, with young Bobby starting
to take guitar lessons. By his early teens he had joined
a group called 'Sound City' in the early 1960's, backing
artistes at the Crawfords
Social Club, Liverpool and eventually the group moved on
to the club circuit, combined with their residency at Crawfords.
During the 60's and 70's Bobby rubbed
shoulders with many stars including Tommy Cooper, Diana
Dors, Freddie Starr and The Walker Brothers. At this time
the cabaret scene was booming with people of all musical
tastes, so for a guitarist with the ability to perform different
styles there was plenty of work in country, rock & roll,
Bobby’s country music work began in
1967 when be played lead guitar with Johnny Gold & The
Country Cousins for a couple of years, prior to joining
The Kentuckians. Bobby describes The Kentuckians as, "being
on a par with the Hillsiders", releasing several records
during the 1970's.
Spanning an 11-year period he toured Europe, visiting
US bases in places such as Turkey, Naples, Athens, Frankfurt,
Rome, Istanbul, Ankara, Adana in addition to England.
Bobby learnt the various guitar styles
by taking a course with George Dickinson, who was with the
BBC Light Orchestra
for many years. Bobby was under the impression that George
had ambitions for Bobby to expand in this manner also. Unfortunately
Bobby was unable to complete the course as his father passed
away and as Bobby said, "I kinda went off the deep
end and never finished the course". While working with
Johnny Gold & The Country Cousins, Johnny's brother
taught Bobby how to accomplish the styles of Merle Travis
and Chet Atkins.
During the early 1980's Bobby Arnold
worked with The Ben Rees Band for about 2½
years, before the group disbanded. It was while on the
final tour with Ben Rees that Bobby's wife took a telephone
message from Kenny Johnson asking if Bobby would like to
work with Northwind. That was over 15 years ago. Since joining
Kenny & Northwind he has worked with Johnny Cash, Sonny
Curtis, Billy Joe Spears and many other major artistes.
Bobby has many tales to tell of meeting big name artistes;
such as the night he once had dinner with Ginger Rogers.
It was on a flight from Athens to Brindisi on the Adriatic
- via Rome Airport. She was going to Germany and Bobby was
on tour with Jerry Naylor, (Crickets) and Dee Dee Patterson,
(Platters). Along with Kenny & Northwind, Bobby has
also toured Ireland, The Falklands and Belize three times.
A couple of years ago Bobby started playing
selective gigs with some good friends from the Merseyside
area, Terry Fletcher, Peter Guy and Billy Rivers as the
Bar Room Boys, creating
an electrifying atmosphere with a wide range of acoustic
styled country music, bringing some of the aesthetic textures
back to enrich and enhance the country music circuit.
During the early part of 2001 Bobby
started to suffer from problems with his throat. Sadly this
condition was diagnosed as cancer of the throat and he had
to stand down from his work on the country scene for a little
while. Undergoing the difficult and horrendous treatment
of radiotherapy, fortunately Bobby Arnold had the strength
of mind that it takes to fight against this horrible illness.
During the summer of 2001, Bobby was pleased to be given
the “all clear” by his consultant and returned to the country
scene to continue his work with both Kenny Johnson &
Northwind and the Bar Room Boys.
You have to see it to believe this
man’s talent. On 1st January Bobby received two awards
from North Country Music magazine...Instrumentalist Of The
Year and Lifetime Achievement Award.
Though we hoped and prayed that Bobby
had triumphed over his condition with cancer, unfortunately it
was not to be so and Bobby suffered once again with this
dreadful disease as it took hold around the beginning of 2003.
It is with great sadness that I was
informed that on Monday 28 April 2003 Bobby Arnold passed away.