Wednesday, April 28, 2010

big bill broonzy, sonny terry & brownie mcghee

Brownie McGhee

Brownie McGhee, originally uploaded by garynem.

22x30" watercolor on 300 lb. Arches coldpress. Brownie McGhee is perhaps best known for the 45 years he worked along side of Sonny Terry, a harp player who had worked with Blind Boy Fuller up until Fuller's death. McGhee grew up in Kingsport Tennesee - again, not too far from here - played throughout the southeast and in Durham, NC before recording in Chicago then moving to New York. McGhee and Terry exemplefied the Piedmont Blues sound to many. Like other blues artists they became famous through the folk revival movement in the 50's and 60's. McGhee even had cameo parts in several films (like Steve Martin's "The Jerk") and on Broadway. He passed away in California in 1996.

Sonny Terry Library of Congress record

1938 Fox Chase & Lost John

brownie mcghee & sonny terry guitar highway

woody, cisco and sonny

woody, cisco and sonny, originally uploaded by Nmarie.

Dusty Road Woody Guthrie 2009

Sonny Terry

Sonny Terry, originally uploaded by mtphrames.

Ash Grove Poster

Blues Poster 1, originally uploaded by Photo's by The Swamper.

With Rev. Gary Davis

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

(USA blues music)

Mariah Folk & Blues Coffee House Poster

Blue Poster 2, originally uploaded by Photo's by The Swamper.

Sonny Is King

sonnyterry, originally uploaded by champboss.

Big Bill Broonzey Sonny Terry Brownie McGhee 1968

broonzey, originally uploaded by champboss.

Big Bill Broonzey Sonny Terry Brownie McGhee
Folkways FS 3817 (1968)
In A WFMT Chicago Presentation: Studs Terkel Interview

Brownie Mcghee & Sonny Terry Sing

browniesonny, originally uploaded by champboss.

Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry

Sonny Terry & The Swamper

1970s, I made a tape with Sonny which is still one of the biggest thrills in my life.

One of Sonny Terry's Harmonicas

This is one of my most prized possesions, in the 1970's Sonny Terry visited my home and we made a home recording together. Right as he was leaving, he gave me this harmonica as a token of his appreciation for having him over to the house for dinner. It is a Hohner Marine Band model in the key of B.

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee waiting for The Blues Train. Chorlton, 1963.

sonny terry whoopin the blues

Sonny Terry & Myself

Sail Away - Tabs

Sail Away-Sonny and Brownie This is off an album Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee did together appropriately called and Brownie." It's a cover of a Randy Newman song and sounds good on solo acoustic.

Get The Tabs Here.

East Coast Piedmont Blues



Influenced by ragtime, country string bands, traveling medicine shows, and popular song of the early 20th century, East Coast Piedmont Blues blended both black and white, rural and urban song elements in the diverse urban centers of the Southeast and mid-Atlantic region. In contrast, the Delta blues style of rural Mississippi is believed to have less of a white influence, as it was produced in a region with a higher concentration of African Americans.

Although it drew from diverse elements of the region, East Coast Piedmont Blues is decidedly an African American art form. The Piedmont blues style may even reflect an earlier musical tradition than the blues that emerged from the Mississippi Delta. According to Samuel Charters, the alternating-thumb bass pattern and “finger-picking style” of Piedmont blues guitar is reminiscent of West African kora playing and earlier banjo styles, also of African origin (Sweet as the Showers of Rain, Oak Publications, 1977, p. 137).

The Geography of Piedmont Blues

This style was principally found in the region between the Appalachian Mountains to the west and coastal plain to the east, stretching south to north from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. Most Piedmont bluesmen were associated with Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Bruce Bastin, probably the leading expert on Piedmont blues, has written that large numbers of migrating African Americans settled in the urban centers of the mid-Atlantic region during the 1910s and 1920s, principally on the main roads and railroad lines connecting the South to the Northeast. The Appalachian Mountains provided a physical barrier to a more westward expansion, and migration was generally rural to urban up the Eastern Seaboard. As a result, the urban centers along the way -- Atlanta, GA, Greenville and Spartanburg, SC Durham, NC, Richmond, VA -- became fertile areas for black musicians to both perform and influence each other. (For more information, see Bruce Bastin, Red River Blues, U of Illinois P, 1986.) See a complete list of East Coast Piedmont Blues Musicians by state.

When did Piedmont blues musicians record?

The heyday of the Piedmont blues sound was the 1920s and 30s, during the earliest days of commercial recording. 78 rpm records of African American musicians from this period -- often marketed as "race records" -- are highly collectable today. Document Records in Scotland and Yazoo Records out of Newton, NJ, are two companies that have done an excellent job in preserving many of these rare recordings on compact disc.

What distinguishes the Piedmont blues sound from, say, Delta blues or Texas blues (generally speaking)?

Generally speaking, the Piedmont blues sound incorporated ragtime piano rhythms and chord changes in guitar playing. The left hand piano rhythm is reproduced with the thumb and the right hand piano melody with the forefingers. This is often called "finger-picking style." This type of playing has been described by some critics as being more "melodic" than other blues, with an alternating thumb bass pattern supporting the melody on treble strings.

Darth Vader Plays Sonny Terry

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee - I'm a burnt child

From the Album: Whoopin

Sonny Terry – Burnt Child

Whoopin Album Here


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Sonny Terry - Ya, Ya


From the Album Whoopin’.


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Sonny Terry - Profile

10558666 Harmonica player Sonny Terry was one of the initial bluesmen who crossed over into areas not normally associated with the genre before he came along. Along with his partner, guitarist Brownie McGhee, Terry played on numerous folk recordings with the likes of Woody Guthrie, developed an acting career showcased on television and Broadway, and never compromised his unique high-pitched penetrating harmonica style called whoppin'. Sonny Terry was born Saunders Terrell on October 24, 1911, in Greensboro, NC. He lost his sight by the time he was 16 in two separate accidents. His father played harmonica in local functions around town and taught Terry at an early age. Realizing his eyesight would keep him from pursuing a profession in farming, Terry decided instead to be a blues singer. He began traveling to nearby Raleigh and Durham, performing on street corners for tips. In 1934, he befriended the popular guitarist Blind Boy Fuller. Fuller convinced Terry to move to Durham, where the two immediately gained a strong local following. By 1937, they were offered an opportunity to go to New York and record for the Vocalion label. A year later, Terry would be back in New York taking part in John Hammond's legendary Spirituals to Swing concert, where he performed one of his memorable tunes, "Mountain Blues." Upon returning to Durham, Terry continued playing regularly with Fuller and also met his future partner, guitarist Brownie McGhee, who would accompany Terry off and on for the next two decades. McGhee was initially sent to look after Terry by Blind Boy's manager, J.B. Long. Long figured McGhee might get a chance to play some of the same shows as Terry. A friendship developed between the two men and following Fuller's death in 1941, Terry and McGhee moved to New York. The change proved fruitful as they immediately found steady work, playing concerts both as a duo and solo. Terry became an in-demand session player who started showing up regularly on the records of folk luminaries including Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. An acting role was also initiated at this time, in the long-running Broadway production of Finian's Rainbow in 1946. By the mid-'50s, Terry and McGhee began broadening their collective horizons and traveled extensively outside of New York. They released a multitude of recordings for labels like Folkways, Savoy, and Fantasy that crossed the boundaries of race, becoming well-known in folk and blues circles performing for black and white audiences. It was also in the mid-50s that Terry and McGhee accepted roles on Broadway, joining the cast of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, exposing them to an even broader audience. In the early '60s, the duo performed at numerous folk and blues festivals around the world, while Terry found time to work with singer Harry Belafonte and in television commercials. Terry was constantly traveling throughout the '70s, stopping only long enough to write his instructional book, The Harp Styles of Sonny Terry. By the mid-'70s, the strain of being on the road developed into personal problems between McGhee and Terry. Unfortunately, they resigned their long partnership, divided by the bitterness of constant touring. Terry was still being discovered by a younger blues generation via the Johnny Winter-produced album Whoppin' for the Alligator label, featuring Winter and Willie Dixon. Winter had produced a comeback album for Muddy Waters (Hard Again) that helped rejuvenate his career, and he was attempting the same with Terry. By the '80s, Terry's age was catching up with him. He quit recording and only accepted sporadic live appearances. Terry passed away in 1986, the year he was inducted into the Blues Foundations Hall of Fame.
— Al Campbell , All Music Guide

Penitentiary Blues - Lightnin' Hopkins, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry















Same as this album but different artwork.

Lightnin' Hopkins / Sonny Terry / Brownie McGhee / Joe Williams - Southern Meetin'


R-1394870-1219008243 Label: Kimberly Records
Catalog#: 2017
Format: Vinyl, LP, Mono
Country: US
Released: 1960
Genre: Blues
Style: Delta Blues, Harmonica Blues


A1 Ain't Nothin' Like Whiskey
A2 Penitentiary Blues
A3 If You Steal My Chickens You Can't Make 'Em Lay

B1 First Meeting
B2 How Long Have It Been Since You Been Home?
B3 Wimmin' From Coast To Coast


Bass - Jimmy Bond
Guitar, Vocals - Big Joe Williams , Brownie McGhee , Lightnin' Hopkins
Harmonica, Vocals - Sonny Terry


Recorded July 6, 1960 in L.A.
This is the original release from the famous 1960 recording session, commonly referred to as the "Down South Summit Meeting".

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee - Cindy & Rock Island Line

Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger (No. 34)

Brownie McGhee Profile

Born: November 30, 1915 in Knoxville TN

Died: February 16, 1996 in Oakland CA

Brownie McGhee is one of the most famous of the blues artists that worked in the acoustic, folk-oriented Piedmont blues style common in the Southeast United States. Known for his solo recordings as well as for his long-lasting relationship with blind harpist Sonny Terry, McGhee was one of the last ambassadors of a style that evolved from the string-band tradition of the early 1900s. McGhee's musical influence would extend beyond the folk artists of the '60s to include contemporary blues artists like Cephas & Wiggins and rocker Ben Harper.

Traveling With Blind Boy Fuller

Walter Brown ("Brownie") McGhee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in nearby Kingsport. Afflicted with polio at the age of four, crippling one leg, Brownie was pushed around in a cart by his older brother, guitarist Granville (nicknamed "Sticks"). The McGhee family was musically-inclined, and the young McGhee learned to play guitar from his father. The March of Dimes funded an operation on McGhee's leg in 1937 that allowed the musician to walk, albeit with a slight limp.

McGhee developed a love of gospel music as a youth, and he would later sing with the local Golden Voices Gospel Quartet. After his operation, McGhee became a traveling bluesman, making his way to North Carolina, where he hooked up with "Blind Boy" Fuller, one of his main musical influences, and Fuller's manager, J.B. Long. Long arranged for McGhee to record over a dozen sides in Chicago, the first of which - a remake of Fuller's "Step It Up And Go" - was released by Okeh Records in 1940.

Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee

Fuller died suddenly of blood poisoning in 1941, leaving a void in the Piedmont blues scene. Long rushed in to capitalize on the tragedy, and had McGhee record his tribute to his mentor, "Death Of Blind Boy Fuller," using Fuller's trademark guitar. At the same time, Okeh reissued several of McGhee's earlier records under the name "Blind Boy Fuller No. 2," which McGhee reportedly used as a performer for a brief time.

During his 1941 session for Okeh, McGhee was paired with Fuller's former harp player, Sonny Terry, for the song "Workingman's Blues." They found a distinctive musical chemistry working together, and the two blues musicians moved to New York City in 1942 to purse opportunities on the growing folk circuit. Befriended by the legendary Leadbelly, who got the duo work in the city's coffee houses and folk clubs, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee soon became part of a circle of artists that included the Rev. Gary Davis, Woody Guthrie, and Pete Seeger.

Terry and McGhee became a popular act with young, white folk music fans and were among the first blues artists to perform in Europe during the 1950s, brought overseas by promoter and musician Chris Barber. The duo's Piedmont blues sound was ready-made for the folk festivals and college campuses of the 1960s, and the two toured together steadily until their break-up in the late-70s. During this time, Terry and McGhee also recorded regularly for labels like Folkways, Bluesville, and Fantasy, and even stepped out of their "pure" folk style to perform frequently with a jump blues band with horns.

Brownie McGhee's Solo Work

After relocating to New York City, McGhee opened his School of Blues in Harlem, giving guitar lessons to interested students. McGhee also recorded prolifically as a solo artist throughout the 1940s and '50s, sometimes under pseudonyms like Spider Sam or Blind Boy Williams to prevent contract problems. Neither did McGhee limit himself to the folk blues style he was known for; he often recorded electric-blues, R&B, and even gospel music for a variety of labels like Savoy, London, Dot, Red Robin, and Harlem. McGhee scored a major rhythm and blues hit with the song "My Fault" in 1948.

McGhee even turned his skills towards acting, appearing on Broadway for a three-year run of Tennessee Williams' Cat On A Hot Tin Room in 1955, and later performing in the Langston Hughes play Simply Heaven and in Finian's Rainbow. McGhee also appeared in films like 1987's Angel Heart as well as on the television show Family Ties, and his musical performances - both solo and with Terry - were featured in several blues documentary films.

After breaking with Terry around 1980, McGhee continued to bring his Piedmont blues sound to audiences worldwide until his death from cancer in 1996. Among McGhee's final performances was an appearance at the 1995 Chicago Blues Festival. One of the most beloved of folk blues performers, with a career that spanned six decades, Brownie McGhee was a one-of-a-kind talent.

8-bar blues in A - Key to the Highway

Download PDF


Blues Guitar - Treble Shuffle - Brownie McGhee

Download PDF

This is another variation of the shuffle. Now the movement E - E6 - E7 is played on the treble strings. I think of it as typical for the playing of Brownie McGhee, but he fingerpicks with a monotone bass.








          A - A6 – A7                   E - E6 - E7

We start with an E-chord, fingered  The 12 bar blues in E, a fingering that leaves your 4th finger free. To get E6, you fret 2nd string 2nd fret, and to get E7, you fret 2nd string 3rd fret. Note that this gives you another voicing of the E7 chord than the one shown in the first lesson. Personally I like this new voicing better, but it is a matter of context and of taste. You should know both.

I often start with open 3rd string as a pick-up note, hammering on to 1st fret. Look in the tabulature for this. It gives you a change from Em to E
Over the A-chord we have the same movement, once again with the 4th finger doing all the work on 1st string. You can have the same kind of minor - major change, but the fingering is more difficult. So it is better to slide the whole chord up from 1st to 2nd fret. B7 is difficult, so we do not care about this chord no.

12 bar blues - Treble shuffle in E


Guitar Styles of Brownie Mcghee

  • Paperback
  • Published: January 1, 1971
  • ASIN: B0013GBHKC
  • Length: 102 pages


    Buy this Book here.

    Squeeze My Lemon: A Collection of Classic Blues Lyrics

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0634055461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0634055461
  • Brownie Mcghee - The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll

    Sonny Terry  - Custard Pie



    Buy this book.

    "They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday's just as bad/Wednesday's worse, and Thursday's also sad." There's a lot more to the blues than three chords played on an old beat-up guitar. Squeeze My Lemon is a collection of some of the best blues lines ever recorded. From birth ("Born under a bad sign/I've been down since I began to crawl") to death ("Everybody wants to go to heaven/But nobody wants to die") and everything in between, this volume quotes classic blues phrases by songwriter/artists B.B. King, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Robert Johnson and many, many others.Compiled by award-winning author/Grammy-nominated record producer Randy Poe, Squeeze My Lemon: A Collection of Classic Blues Lyrics features classic photos of many leading blues artists. A great gift book, it is highly entertaining not only for blues lovers, but for anyone who appreciates great lyrics. Categorized by subject matter (Love - Or the Lack Thereof, Blues and Booze, Blues Behind Bars, Make Mine a Double Entendre, etc.), Squeeze My Lemon is a book you'll return to - and quote from - again and again.


    The Blues Guitar of Brownie McGhee

    • Happy Traum Teaches¦the Blues Guitar of Brownie McGhee: Songs and Techniques Passed Down from a Master Bluesman
  • Format: NTSC
  • Studio: Instructional/Guitar/DVD
  • DVD Release Date: September 1, 2008
  • ASIN: 1597732524

    150 MIN.

    Purchase this here.


    Brownie McGhee's blues guitar influenced generations of players around the world. Happy Traum learned directly from this master bluesman, and he makes Brownie's songs and techniques accessible to all aspiring acoustic blues players. Songs: I'm Gonna Tell God How You Treat Me · Move to Kansas City · Betty and Dupree · Me and My Dog · Sporting Life · Living with the Blues · Key to the Highway · Blood Red River · Careless Love · Pawnshop Blues. BONUS TRACKS: Brownie McGhee demonstrates 11 songs and techniques in never-before-heard audio recordings, recently discovered in Happy's personal archives!

    Brownie McGhee - Born and Livin' With The Blues

    Sonny Terry - I Think I Got The Blues


    Willie Dixon, Johnny Winter & Steve Homnick


    Buy this track here.


  • Original Release Date: November 30, 1983
  • Label: Alligator Records
  • Copyright: 1984 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.
  • Duration: 3:42 minutes
  • Sonny Terry - Whoopin
















    Buy the album here.

    1. I Got My Eyes On You

    2. Sonny's Whoopin' The Doop

    3. Burnt Child

    4. Whoo Wee Baby

    5. Crow Jane

    6. So Tough With Me

    7. Whoo Wee Baby

    8. I Think I Got the Blues

    9. Ya, Ya

    10. Roll Me, Baby

    Label  Alligator

    Original Year Released Year  1984

    Re Release Date  Oct 25, 1990

    Studio/Live  Studio

    Mono/Stereo  Stereo

    Producer  Johnny Winter

    Recording Time  43 minutes

    Personnel  Johnny Winter, Willie Dixon

    Sonny Terry - Poster

    Red River Blues 1948-1974 - DVD


  • Actors: Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry
  • Directors: Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry
  • Format: Color, DVD, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rating: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Vestapol
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2003
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: No customer


    Purchase This DVD here.
    About the Actors

    Sonny Terry started playing harp in his teens, as a blind street musician in North Carolina. After a stint with a medicine show, he hooked p with the popular ragtime singer/guitarist, Blind Boy Fuller. When he was 23 he made his recording debut, backing up Fuller. Barely a year later in 1938, he was wowing New York audiences at Carnegie Hall, appearing solo as part of John Hammond's Spirituals to Swing concert. After Fuller's death in 1940, Terry teamed with Brownie McGhee and the two began a long lived musical partnership. It took them from the socially conscious New York folk music scene of the 1940s, where they lived, worked and recorded with people like Leadbelly, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, to the concert halls of Europe as premier blues artists in the 1960s. Along the way Sonny's rhythmically infectious country-styled harp backed up dancers in the Broadway musical, Finian's Rainbow. Sonny and Brownie recorded copiously and were regulars in folk clubs and festivals, paving the way for today s spate of unplugged blues artist. In 1982 the duo split up and Sonny worked solo even recording an album with Johnny Winter. Terry died in 1986, leaving behind many recordings and numerous fans as well as harp players trying to duplicate his virtuosity. Sonny Terry was a true originator and a powerful entertainer.

    Product Description

    For some 30 years, they embodied "country blues" for folk music audiences around the globe. Sonny Terry (1911-1986) and Brownie McGhee (1915-1996) were once ubiquitous, and as such tended to be taken for granted in the halcyon days of the 1960s blues rediscoveries. But nearly two decades have passed since the perennial team parted, and the 16 performances here remind us of this superb duo's complementary strengths: Sonny, the achetypal country blues harp player, whooping and "fox chasing" in a style as old as any known; Brownie, the more urbane, but no less passionate exemplar of the southeast's Piedmont-style blues, a stunning guitarist and singer. This dvd career retrospective begins with two pieces filmed for the Library of Congress in 1948, including a rendition of John Henry with Woody Guthrie. Pete Seeger appears as appreciative host to the duo for two songs from his Rainbow Quest TV show. A wonderful medley filmed in 1970 of Red River Blues/Crow Jane offers two of the oldest known pieces in the Piedmont blues repertoire. Sonny's signature harmonica showpiece, Whoopin' the Blues is heard in a 1973 BBC performance, and a tour de force Rock Island Line closes this exciting survey of a duo who, more than anyone else, introduced a generation to the power and glory of country blues. Titles include: John Henry, Easy Rider, Fighting a Losing Battle, Couldn't Believe My Eyes, Red River Blues, Crow Jane, Backwater Blues, Life is a Gamble, My Father's Words, Walking My Blues Away, Whoopin' the Blues, Walk On, Ride Ride Ride, Burnt Child (Afraid of Fire), Born With The Blues, Rock Island Line.

  • The Sourcebook of Sonny Terry Licks for Harmonica


  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Centerstream Publications
  • Published February 1, 1996
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574240188
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574240184
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 8.8 x 0.9 inches


     Purchase this book here.


      "Sonny Terry has got to be explained to the people or his art will go over their head. By understanding Sonny Terry, you will learn how to enjoy and live in the real people's music that is on a train that's bound for glory." - Woody Guthrie, 1946. This book/CD pack pays homage to Terry and his infamous playing. Besides 70 famous licks from Sonny, this pack gives you some quick harmonica lessons, information on Sonny's style, a discography with key chart, and a bibliography for future research. The CD includes each lick played out by the author.

    • Ain't Gonna Study War - Lyrics


      I ain't gonna study the war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more, study the war no more
      I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more
      I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside
      Oh, well, it's down by the riverside,
      I'm gonna lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside
      To study war no more
      I ain't gonna study the war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more, study the war no more
      I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more
      I'm gonna try on my long white robe, down by the riverside
      Lord, down by the riverside, I'm gonna try on my long white robe
      Down by the riverside, to study war no more
      I ain't gonna study the war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more, study the war no more
      I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more
      I'm gonna put on my travelin' shoes, down by the riverside
      Lord, down by the riverside, Lord, down by the riverside
      I'm gonna put on my travelin' shoes, down by the riverside
      To study war no more
      I ain't gonna study the war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more, study the war no more
      I ain't gonna study war no more, ain't gonna study the war no more
      Ain't gonna study war no more

      Charlie Musselwhite with Richard Bargel

      Brownie McGhee – Just a Dream


      The Folkways Years (1945-1959)


      Track 5