Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

Listen to some tracks by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and you would say, that's rough and ready Piedmont blues, complete with whoops and hollers. Here they are playing Easy Rider.

But there they are playing with Pete Seeger. They played, and recorded, with Woodie Guthrie as well. There friendship and musical association with these guys kind of makes them what you might today call "cross-over" artists. Some of their tunes are downright folkie-dolkie, yet they retain elements of their blues tradition, and managed to develop a style as a duo that became tremendously distinctive.

Listen to Down by the Riverside, with Pete. Fantastic material!

I remember seeing them at the El Mocambo back in the 70s. I had never seen anything like it. That show really opened my mind to the possibilities of music.

Here's I'm a Burnt Child

I have to post a version of Sonny Terry's fantastic Hootin' the Blues. I sat ten feet away from him one time and watched him play that, and all I could think was, man that isn't possible.

Let's not discount Brownie's role in this either. His guitar is fantastic on this tune.

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