Billy Lee Riley
Performs in Jonesboro, Arkansas
At KASU's Blue Monday

Billy Lee Riley was raised in Northeast Arkansas. His father was a farm worker and Riley learned his blues on the back porches with the other tenant farmers right around Jonesboro, Arkansas. Then in the fifties Billy Lee Riley and The Little Green Men recorded "Flying Saucer Rock and Roll" and "Red Hot" at Sun Studios in Memphis. Since then he has played his music, both blues and rock n roll, all over the world.

On February 7, 2000 Riley returned to Jonesboro to play at Potlickers Uptown Deli as part of KASU's Blue Mondays program. Instead of the usual show with a full band we got to hear Billy Lee Riley solo, up close and personal.

He'd sing a couple of verses playing shuffle blues on his guitar and then take a chorus on the harmonica he had taped to a microphone stand. Potlickers was packed with an appreciative audience and when Riley slowed it down to do a Lazy Lester tune or "Rainy Night in Georgia" he was getting to us.

Riley was relaxed and in charge as he played through a repertoire of his own material, blues classics, and great old songs that maybe ten other people in the world still remember. He is, without a doubt, a world class performer and he's paid a lifetime of dues to prove it. We were lucky to get to see him in such an intimate setting. I recommend you go see him whenever you get a chance.

For more information on Billy Lee Riley

Delta Musicians
Shade Tree Blues
The Billy Lee Riley Story

Photos and text
by Hairy Larry

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