Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues
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Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues

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The best kept secret in music



"welcome back a deep Chicago Bluesman from the old school"
- Bob Margolin - BOB MARGOLIN

"JAZZNOW Magazine"

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues
Nothin' To Prove
Plantation #1 Productions MA31605

Mac Arnold, lead vocal and bass; Max Hightower, harmonica, slide guitar and piano; Austin Brashier, guitars and background vocals; Mark McMakin, bass and background vocals; and, Mike Whitt, drums. Special guests are Rudy "Blue Shoes" Wyatt on piano and Jim Peterman on Hammond B3 Organ

Mac Arnold made the journey from his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina to Chicago and hooked up with A. C. Reed which almost immediately led to a stint playing bass for Muddy Waters in 1967. After a long career as a sideman in other blues bands and on television shows (Soul Train), Arnold moved back south. He has now formed a new band and this CD is a result of that collaboration.

The opening cut of "Blues For You" sets the pace with a great bass shuffle for this downhome blues CD. The title cut of "Nothin' To Prove" is a personalized blues rap by Arnold about his longevity in the business with Hightower on captivating harmonica support. Arnold's vocals on "Call Mac Arnold" are particularly earthy and the guitar is bluesy to the max on this catchy tune. A highlight is "I Don't Know" on which Arnold draws out the lyrics with pungency and the pianist sensitively hits just the right key to add variety to the texture of this tune. The country blues tune "(Get On) Back To The Country" features a rhythmically supple harmonica solo. The latter tune is reprised as the last cut and a vibrant slide guitar accompaniment spices it up with Arnold's rawer than usual vocals. The Hammond B3 tastefully drives the Chicago-style "Ghetto Blue" and Arnold's vocal statement about playing with various blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Tyrone Davis. "The Truth" has an undulating melody and the upbeat tempo showcases an enthralling guitar accompaniment. On "She's Mean To Me" Arnold's engrossing vocals are controlled and keep pace with the shifting tempos laid down by the harmonica and guitar on this slow bluesy rendering.

The ten cuts are all originals and are intriguing as they seemingly relate to Arnold's life experience. This is an excellent offering with solid support by a group of seasoned musicians. Arnold has a muscular vocal style that knocks me out. If you like Muddy Waters, check this one out if only for the vocal phrasing.

by Dorothy L. Hill - DOROTHY L. HILL

"Peter 'Cornbread' Cohen"

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues – Nothin’ To ProveMac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues – Nothin’ To Prove
{April 2005 | Plantation #1 Productions}

Mac has played with James Brown, Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, Big Mama Thornton, John Lee Hooker, Otis Spann and Tyrone Davis. He’s played on Soul Train and was part of Muddy’s band in the sixties. Sheesh is that a resume or what?

I first got a taste of Mac on the CD sampler from Blues Revue, I thought his song was the best on the sampler. Mac sings lead vocal on all songs, he plays some bass, guitar and even has credit writing.


1. Blues For You – for me? Thanks. Great bass shuffle, mouth waterin’ guitar playin’ and good vocals.

2. Nothin To Prove – killer harmonica fills.

3. Call Mac Arnold – electric blues, great song musically, easily could be a radio favorite.

4. I Don’t Know – mighty fine piano blues.

5. (Get On) Back To The Country – piano and harmonica on this slow back to the Delta blues.

6. Ghetto Blue – an R&B Chicago blues journey with crisp guitar and a taste of Hammond B-3. Three thumbs up – I really dig this track.

7. Going Back Home – piano, harmonica and electric guitar snipits, could ya ask for more?

8. The Truth – prominent vocals with tons of mojo, very cool, right on, yea man.

9. She’s So Mean To Me – Mac on bass, sweeeet guitar with harmonica chasers.

10. (Get On) Back To The Country (Part 2 “Live”) – this time with some slide guitar.

Nothin’ To Prove is consistent “good blues” through and through, one of the best CD’s I’ve had the privilege of reviewing and previewing. Cornbread says go and get this CD y’all, you won’t be disappointed. Visit Mac on the web at Rating 4.835 – wow!

Ciao' for now, peace.
Peter 'Cornbread' Cohen, CBP
~ ~ - STLBlues


Nothin' To Prove
Plantation #1 Productions

South Carolina Native Mac Arnold traveled to the Windy City in 1965 to further his musical career. At age 24 the bassist/vocalist briefly worked with A.C Reed before touring with Muddy Waters for a year. He's one of the last surviving members of water's great '60s bands. and he played on two classic ABC-Bluesway recordings from that era: John Lee Hooker's Live at the Caf'e Au Go-Go and Otis Spann's The Blues Is Where It's At. In the early '70s Arnold moved to LosAngeles, where he found work with Soul Train, Bill Withers, and Redd Foxx's Laff Records before returning home in the '80s.
These nine group penned originals seem inspired mainly by Chicago masters like Waters. The universal topics and varied grooves might be familiar, but the exceptionally versatile Plate Full O' Blues --- guitarist Austin Brashier, bassist Mark McMakin, drummer Mike Whitt, and surprising multi-instrumentalist Max Hightower, who contridutes masterful slide, harp, and piano --- preform Arnold's songs with infectious energy, keeping their material fresh and vital. Arnold's gravelly vocals are reminiscent of Eddie Shaw's but there are traces of Waters and Albert King as well. He plays bass only on the nine-minute lament "She's So Mean To Me," which evokes elements of the three Kings.
Favorite tracks include "Blues for You," an anthem in the style of Little Milton's "Hey, Hey, the Blues Is Alright" that's propelled by Brashier's brittle' stinging leads; the rollinking New Orleans R&B boast "Call Mac Arnold"; and the title track, a declamatory Arnold's disdain for apologies, excuses, comparisons, and regrets. This is old-school blues at its finest. Torch-bearer Arnold and his cohorts keep the flame burning brightly on one of the best Traditional blues albums of the year.


Mac Arnold travelled in 1965, of its geboorteplaats, Greenville, South Carolina to Chicago, then 24 years started he its musical career as a zanger/bass player at a.C. Drove, that ensured that he could play just as later as bass player for Muddy
water. Mac Arnold bob Margolin as a "a deep Chicago bluesman from the old
school" are defined, a description for bluesman which played water on the albums with these
Muddy "live ate The café ow Go Go" (John Lee Hooker with the Muddy
water link) and with Otis Spann on The blues is Where It's ate/ Nobody Knows Chicago Like I do; both incorporated in the year 1966. In the beginning years 70, moved Arnold to LosAngeles, where he worked with soul trains, Bill Withers, and saved Foxx's Laff record, to return then later in the eighties to house. Not to surprise that Arnold's muziekroots returns to the traditional
Chicago blues of Muddy water and Jimmy Rogers, which we hear thus clearly on its new album "Nothin ' To Prove". Mac Arnold (become vocal, bas) assisted by the ' Plate Full o ' blues existing
multi-instrumentalist maximum Hightower (harmonica, slide jet ear, piano), ow tin Brashier (jet ears, backing vocal), Mark of McMakin (bass, backing vocal) and Mike Whitt (drums). Special guests are Rudy "Blue Shoes" Wyatt on piano and Jim Peterman
on ham mouth B3. Arnold's do think vital voice of those of Eddie Shaw, but clearly there also tracks of water and even of Albert King are. He plays only bass in six minutes lasting "She's So Mean To me", in what we elements terughoren of the three Kings. The influence of Jimmy Rogers is best in "Call Mac Arnold" and "Going
hear back home", quiet shuffles with beautiful jet ear game. Favoriete tracks are mainly the opener "blues for You", a number in the style of Little Milton. In the New Orleans R&B getinte "Call Mac Arnold" and the titeltrack
hear we Arnold vocal on its strongest and are thus immediately the
radio favourites. Other peaks are the number "I Don't Know", in what Arnold get a very well accompaniment of pianist Rudy "Blue
Shoes" Wyatt and in the country blues of "(Get On) back To The we hear
country" a splendid harmonica solo of maximum Hightower. This number is taken up again, this time live, accompanied as last track voice raw with beautiful slidewerk beside
Arnold's. Ham mouth B3 of Jim Peterman provided it in Chicago-stijl brought
"Ghetto Blue" more brilliances and do think Arnold's voice our of its
vocal contributions at artists such as Muddy water and Tyrone Davis. All ten songs have been written by Mac Arnold themselves and are part
of its life experiences. Liefhebbers of Muddy know water sufficiently: This are old-school blues ate its finest!
- Freddy Celis


After listening to [this CD] for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking that [it was part of] long lost treasures, found purely by accident by someone trawling through the archives in a record company’s vaults and coming across a box of previously unreleased tapes that had lain there unnoticed for fifty plus years.

You can assume, from my comments that this music is vintage blues and R&B, rooted in the 50s/60s, and imbued with the tough, uncompromising, compelling veracity and attitude that fired the music of that period; real blues that reflected the hardships, pain, frustrations, hope and joy that permeated the lives of black Americans in the ghettoes during that era.

Mac Arnold is described by Bob Margolin as “a deep Chicago bluesman from the “old school”, an apt description for a man who played, briefly, with Muddy Waters in the late 60s, featuring on the Bluesway albums “Live At The Café Au Go Go” (John Lee Hooker with the Muddy Waters Band) and “The Blues Is Where It’s At / Nobody Knows Chicago Like I Do” (Otis Spann) both in 1966.

With that résumé, it’s not surprising that Arnold’s music is rooted in the classic Chicago styles of Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers, with great ensemble playing from Plate Full O’ Blues replete with Little Walter styled harp, Deep rolling piano and tough, uncompromising guitar, all underpinning Arnold’s compelling, blues drenched vocals.

The influence of Jimmy Rogers is evident in “Call Mac Arnold” and “Going Back Home”, relaxed shuffles with catchy guitar, piano and harp hooks. Further shuffles mine a funky groove (“I Don’t Know”); “The Truth” churning with a brooding persona; whilst the opening track, “Blues For You”, with it’s unpretentious rhythms and “lived in” vocals let you know that you are in for a “vintage” treat.

“Ghetto Blue” is a semi-autobiographical, funky blues that name checks the artists Arnold has worked with, fired by Austin Brashier’s tantalizing guitar and bathed by Jim Peterman’s B3, the rest of the tracks falling irresistibly into the Muddy Waters bag. “Nothin’ To Prove”, “(Get On) Back To The Country” and “She’s So Mean To Me” are brooding blues replete with anguished vocals; “Nothin..” featuring tough slide and harp (Max Hightower), “(Get On)” fired by deep rolling piano and wailing harp, whilst “She’s So Mean..” finds Brashier’s guitar crying in sympathy with Arnold’s vocals. That leaves a “killer” live version of “(Get On)” that sounds like vintage early 50’s Muddy, with vicious slide, trashcan drums and dark-hued bass lines underpinning Arnold’s feral vocals.

Great Stuff!

Mick Rainsford - MICK RAINSFORD

"Bluesiana Radio Purmerend, the Netherlands."

5 out of 5 stars great stuff from the old school massters
Reviewer: frank van engelen-bluesiana (click for website)
revieuw from nothing to prove, by frank van engelen-bluesiana radio, purmerend, the netherlands. this album is a true tribute to the great old school blues, done in a very good and authentic way, with marvelaous compositions, a great voice , some great guitarwork and a lot of varieety in the tracks, there is some funk in there as well. no surprice when you teamed up with the big guys, thats how you learn, man a true treasure to play all over again, keep the blues alive arnold. - Frank Van Engelen


>Nothin¹ To Prove
>Plantation #1 MA 31605
>At age 23, southpaw bassist Mac Arnold set out from his home in Pelzer,
>South Carolina, to check out the Chicago blues scene. He must have liked
>what he saw, because a few months later he was back in the Windy City,
>playing for a while with sax man A.C. Reed before catching on with Muddy
>Waters and recording with his band behind John Lee Hooker and Otis Spann on
>their first LPs for ABC BluesWay in 1966. A year later, Arnold formed his
>own group, the Soul Invaders, before moving to Los Angeles. He returned to
>Pelzer in the early ¹80s, and is now fronting a band that includes Austin
>Brashier on guitar, Max Hightower on harmonica, guitar, and piano, Mark
>McMakin on bass, and Mike Whitt on drums.
> Arnold kicks off his debut CD with Blues For You, a lyrically
>inconsequential rocker that probably serves as the band¹s icebreaker on live
>gigs too. Next up, the title track strikes a mid-tempo groove with a Chicago
>ensemble sound, and Arnold¹s time in that city is also evident on I Don¹t
>Know, with its backbeat and stop-time breaks, and Ghetto Blue, an
>atmospheric minor-key piece where Arnold recalls his days with Reed, Waters
>and Tyrone Davis. Funk rhythms come to the fore on Call Mac Arnold and The
>Truth. Come Back Home is a swing number with a slightly jazzy touch, but
>Arnold¹s big, rough vocals, which can sound ponderous, are heard to best
>advantage on the slow blues She¹s So Mean To Me (the only track where he
>plays bass) and (Get On) Back To The Country, which is done once with only
>acoustic harmonica and piano backing and again in a live version with the
>band featuring Hightower¹s Delta-style guitar.
>Though Arnold and his mates don¹t really plow any new ground, it¹s good to
>see another of the music¹s journeymen get his chance in the spotlight.
>‹Jim DeKoster
>Living Blues 2005
> - Jim DeKoster

"(The Voice Of The Blues) Brawo 92.8 FM Ciechocinek (Poland)"

Mac Arnold is just great, a powerful blues singer. This is the blues I love:
traditional, non-nonsence, played from the heart. The song "She's So Mean To
Me" made my jaw drop and I'm sure that will do the same with my listeners.

Przemek Draheim (The Voice Of The Blues) Brawo 92.8 FM Ciechocinek (Poland) - Przemek Draheim


just wanted to say,I saw the best blues show friday night in greenwood that i have ever seen.i am a greenwoodian and listened to some great blues artist in my 49 years,but mac and band ripped it up.the whole band is awesome.with mac and the old school blues voice and the rest of the band doing their thing it was just great.I bought the CD and look forward to seeing the band soon(somewhere this summer hopefully).Please keep me informed with the band and etc. (i will help market and promote the band anyway I can. Thanks again for a great show. sincerely, Kent Mc Manus - KENT Mc MANUS


John Lee Hooker, Live At The Café Au-Go-Go (Bluesway BGOCD39) 1966;
Mac Arnold - Bass

Otis Spann, The Blue Is Where It's At (Bluesway BGOCD39) 1966 MAC ARNOLD - BASS

The Best Of John Lee Hooker (MCA RECORDS) Release: 03/17/1992 “I’m Bad Like Jesse James”

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: Warming By The Devil's Fire “Release: 2003” (SONY/COLUMBIA/LEGACY)
“I’ll Never Get Out of These Blues Alive”
MAC ARNOLD - Book: Muddy Waters The Mojo Man (Sandra B. Tooze- ECW Press)

Mac Arnold & Plater Full O' Blues Nothin' To Prove (*New* CD) 2005

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues Live At Crossroads (CD) 2004

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues Live At The Handlebar 2004 / 2005 (DVD)

Traditional African Amarican Music In S.C, McKissick Museum FEEL THE PRESENCE CD 2005 “Get On” Back To The Country ( Recorded in Mac's House With His Homemade Gas Can Guitar )



Mac Arnold must have known at an early age that his music career would read like a "Who's who" of Blues/R&B legends. His high school band "J. Floyd& the Shamrocks" were often joined by none other than Macon, Georgia native, James Brown on piano. After deciding to pursue a professional music career, he joined the Charles Miller group until 1965 when he made the move to Chicago to work with recording artist/saxophonist A. C. Reed.

In late 1966, at age 24, came the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Muddy Waters Band and help shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60's and early 70's. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop.The Muddy Waters Band (as a unit) shared the stage with the likes of Howlin' Wolf, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, and Big Mama Thornton ("Hound Dog") just to name a few. During this time, Mac played on John Lee Hooker's "live" album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, as well as Otis Spann's classic recording The Blues Is Where It's At, which is still rated a five star CD today.

After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed The Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King. In the early 70's, he moved to Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and Laff Records (Red Foxx). This led to working on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then working with Bill Withers ("Lean on Me" ) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80's.

Mac now resides in Pelzer, SC, where at age ten he got his first taste of the blues when he learned to play his brother Leroy's home-made guitar. Going back to his roots, Mac is serving up a mess of Blues with his own band, "MAC ARNOLD & PLATE FULL O' BLUES". The band consists of Mark McMakin on bass and vocals; Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals; Max Hightower on keyboards, harmonica and guitar; Mike Whitt on drums , and of course Mac Arnold on bass , vocals , and homemade gas can guitar . In the same way Mac shared the stage with some of the most influential Blues/R & B legends of his day, these guys will be fortunate to be in a band with one of the original masters of blues, Mr. Mac Arnold. Bring your appetite and get ready to "Pig Out" on a Plate Full O' Blues!

In 1965, having already established himself back home as a bass player, playing with J Floyd & the Shamrocks including James Brown on keyboard , Mac Arnold decided to take a trip to Chicago to check out the Blues scene. He was obviously impressed because 3 months later 24 year old Mac packed up and moved to the Windy City to expand his music career.

There was a club called the Green Bunny Club on 77 & Halstead St. where Mac first met his sax man A. C. Reed who at the time needed a bass player. Mac was the right man for the job. He played with A. C. for only a short time when he got a chance to play with Muddy Waters. He was asked to come out to Big John’s Grill on the North side to sit in with the band. Muddy asked him where he was from, he replied Greenville, South Carolina. Muddy said, “son, if you’re from the South, then you can play,” and so he did for over a year. His first gig with Muddy was the Mother Blues Club. The band’s line up was Luther Johnson on guitar, Sammy Lawhorn on guitar, Frances Clay on drums, Otis Spann on piano, Mac Arnold on bass, and Muddy on guitar and vocals. The band would play most of the show and Muddy would play the end of the set. On occasions he would play every other set. This gave the guys a chance to show their stuff. Mac had an edge because he’d been working with James Brown in the past. A lot of people had yet to of heard of James Brown, so when Mac would play that funky stuff, it got a lot of people’s attention. Mac is a left handed bass player, and if you listen to some of his early recordings, you will hear he was way ahead of his time.

The band would tour from the East to West Coast and all points in between. Cruisin’ in a 1965 Fleetwood Cadillac, all 7 band members and the driver (Bo) at the wheel. Bo could drive almost non-stop from St. Louis to San Francisco with no sleep. One time they were passing through Mississippi, they stopped in to see some of Muddy’s relatives and wound up doing a show. Mac stayed at Muddy’s cousin’s house, and when L. A. he would stay with George Smith and his family of 6 kids. While touring the West Coast, Mac fell in love with the California weather. When he returned to Chicago he told his wife “we’re moving.”

Mac talked to Muddy and told him he would give him time to find another bass player. Muddy wished him luck and said “he would have him back any time,” and that was it. Mac is one of the last surviving members of the Muddy Water’s era, and so Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues begins.