Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Last.fm Song Of The Day-Brownie McGhee
Song:Key To The Highway
Album:Back Home Blues
Walter "Brownie" McGhee was best known for his long partnership with harmonica player Sonny Terry. But he also recorded solo and this comp consists of long lost recordings from early in his career. He was born Nov. 30, 1915 in Knoxville, TN and grew up in Kingsport. He contracted polio at age four and that gave him plenty of time to practice guitar with his brother Granville as taught by their father. A 1937 March Of Dimes sponsored operation gave McGhee back most of his mobility and he started touring the southeast US. He met washboard player George "Bull City Red" Washington in 1940 and Red introduced McGhee to talent scout JB Long and McGhee signed with Okeh Records and recorded some sessions in Chicago. When Blind Boy Fuller died in 1941, Okeh released some of McGhee's recordings as Blind Boy Fuller No. 2. McGhee recorded some more in 1941 and those are the recordings on this comp. McGhee wrote all the songs including Key To The Highway. Bull City Red is on washboard along with Buddy Moss on guitar and McGhee's first recording with Sonny Terry on Workingman's Blues. The CD is on the British reissue label Past Perfect and several of the songs would become folk standrards. McGhee & Terry moved to New York in 1942 and were a big part of the folk music boom. McGhee also recorded as a solo R & B artist for Savoy and even appeared on Broadway for three years in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof in the 50s. McGhee & Terry continued to work as a team until the 70s. They weren't getting along. Brownie McGhee continued to perform until his death on Feb. 23, 1996 at age 80. Here's Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee performing Key To The Highway on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest 1964.