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Billy C. Farlow

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Biography

Regardless of where Billy C. Farlow’s travels take him, the rhythm and blues of his deep Southern roots stay firmly imbedded in his soul. Growing up in Alabama, Indiana and Texas, he drew his inspiration from both black and white musicians. In his early teens he learned the guitar and harmonica. He wasn’t satisfied with simply mastering renditions of the classics. His musical ear and attraction to poetry combined to form original blues, gospel, and rock n’ roll tunes.

Billy C’s family moved to the Detroit area in the early 60’s. The transplanted homeboy started sitting in at various coffee-houses and blues clubs hanging out and jamming with artists such as Sippie Wallace, Big Joe Williams, and the King of Detroit Blues, John Lee Hooker.

In the fall of 1966, Billy C formed his first band, Billy C & the Sunshine with pianist Boot Hamilton and guitarist Larry Welker. They gained a small but fanatical following in the Detroit-Ann Arbor area. Billy C & the Sunshine worked gigs with the MC-5, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels at the Grande Ballroom and other area venues. On New Year’s Eve of 1967 Billy C. and the Sunshine opened for Eric Clapton and Cream at the Grande Ballroom on Cream’s first American tour. Billy C. often sat in with the James Cotton Band during their frequent visits to the Motor City and became friends with drummer Sam Lay. When Lay left Cotton’s Band to form his own in 1968, Farlow joined following the untimely and tragic death of harmonica master, Little Walter Jacobs, who was with the band at the time.

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