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Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

GUEST,Johnmc 06 Feb 09 - 07:33 AM
Fred McCormick 06 Feb 09 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,BanjoRay 07 Feb 09 - 04:46 AM
folkwaller 07 Feb 09 - 04:48 AM
fat B****rd 07 Feb 09 - 05:01 AM
evansakes 07 Feb 09 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 07 Feb 09 - 09:35 AM
Fred McCormick 07 Feb 09 - 10:01 AM
bankley 07 Feb 09 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,Johnmc 07 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM
BB 07 Feb 09 - 10:52 AM
Will Fly 07 Feb 09 - 11:07 AM
quokka 07 Feb 09 - 11:11 AM
Bobert 07 Feb 09 - 01:13 PM
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Subject: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: GUEST,Johnmc
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 07:33 AM

On BBC 4 tonight.


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 06 Feb 09 - 07:57 AM

23-20 hours. It's a 1/2 hour programme of them in concert.


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: GUEST,BanjoRay
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 04:46 AM

Very enjoyable programme. I saw them live in Doncaster, I believe on the same UK tour, back in the 70s. Sonny's harmonica, interspersed with whoops and hollers, always struck me as being pretty miraculous and beautiful. I'd forgotten how polished and sophisticated Brownie was as a singer and guitarist - sounds more like Josh White than Charlie Patton, but the two went well together - though I believe the couldn't stand each other personally - anybody know?
Ray


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: folkwaller
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 04:48 AM

Fantastic. Give us more BBC.


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: fat B****rd
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:01 AM

Great ! I saw them at the Top Hat, Spennymoor in the early 70s, wonderful night. They were, of course, friendly to each other on stage, but, a couple of years later I overheard one of the staff in Doug Dobells saying he'd seen them at the 100 Club and as they came off stage, arguing, one said to the other - words to the effect - "I'm gonna vote for George Wallace" "You always did!".
Maybe they didn't get on but they're still a favourite of mine.


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: evansakes
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 05:04 AM

Fantastic programme. "Born to live with the blues" should be a standard (maybe it is!)

Yes, apparently they hated each other and didn't talk to each other for about thirty years during the height of their career!

That programme tended to confirm it....nothing whatsoever in the way of interaction between them (apart from a perfunctory sideways glance)

Interesting to see the little pockets on Sonny's shirt where he kept his harps. Mind you Brownie had at least as much weight of metal dangling from his neck.....was this the original medallion man I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 09:35 AM

To say that Sonny & Brownie hated each other and didn't speak to each other for thirty years is gross exageration. I was in their company on their first UK visit in 1958 and saw them on all their subsequent visits spending time with them back-stage at Hammersmith and in their "dressing room" at the 100 club. Having spent considerable amounts of time with various blues musicians, jazz musicians and musicians in other fields it is not uncommon to hear insults being traded backward and forward between them often as a form of entertainment and showing off of improviational capability. Playing the dozens for instance. Also to stave off the boredom of endless time spent in each others company sitting around in dressing rooms or travelling for hours. Sonny and Brownie's partnership lasted for around thirty years, much longer than many marriages Spending this amount of time together having to perform night after night would be enough to try anybody's patience. It is not surprising therefore that there would be periods when they would rather be elsewhere. Inevitable I would say. Nevertheless I never ever saw them give a bad performance. Last night's programme showed this off very well and when you have been performing so long together the act becomes a polished machine needing litle verbal ineraction.No time wasted asking what key or number was coming up next.

Was it really interesting to see that Sonny had pockets in his shirt?
I guess I'll have to take up harmonica now.

Hoot


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:01 AM

Can't comment on their offstage relationship, which I imagine was pretty much as Hootenany has pictured it. However, I recall an exchange which appeared in the English Melody Maker, after they'd been doing a sound check. It went something like this.

Brownie. "You play that thing too loud".

Sonny. "Hell I don't. Why don't you get yourself and electric guitar?"

Brownie. "I don't play electric guitar. I play natural guitar".


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: bankley
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:39 AM

I once had supper with Brownie. He cooked up a fine meal of fried chicken at his efficiency hotel in Montreal.... it was really good
there was only 3 of us... so we filled our boots... a wonderful man..


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: GUEST,Johnmc
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

Of course, some married couples are harsher towards each other than this. Sonny seemed to talk to the audience in a kind of rap, by the way.


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: BB
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 10:52 AM

Fantastic performers! I first heard a recording of them in the early '60s and really enjoyed it, but blues isn't enough of my thing to have followed it up, but seeing them last night makes me regret that. Both wonderful performers, and I don't think I've ever seen anyone who seemed to live the blues the way Brownie McGee did in performance! An absolute joy to see them.

Barbara


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 11:07 AM

Brownie and Sonny played at a folk club in Blackburn (in the UK) in the mid-60s. When the gig had finished, there was a party at a house nearbye. Brownie played and sang all night long, with a bottle of brandy to hand. Sonny, who was rather tired, wanted to return to his hotel, so a musical colleague of mine and I walked Sonny back to his hotel, made sure he was OK, and then returned to the party. We left after dawn and Brownie was still playing and singing - and the brandy bottle was going down.

A night to remember...


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: quokka
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 11:11 AM

Why do we pick apart personal relationships like this?? They're human, like all of us. I'm just grateful for the musical brilliance of their legacy.

Hopping down off the soapbox, gettin' me coat an' runnin'!

Cheers


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Subject: RE: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Feb 09 - 01:13 PM

Actually, bickering between older black blues musicans was called "the dozens"... I'm not too sure where that term came from but it is very much part of what the old guys did for fun... Oh yeah, to an outsider, it can be mis-interpreted...

Before Archie Edwards Barber Shop closed down last year I had been a regular there for the Saturday afternoon jmas and was priviledged over the years to witness "the dozens" on several occasions by the older black blues players...

There's an old geetar player, Warner Williams, who performs with a harp player, Jay Summerall that I understand, tho I've never witnessed it, are said to be the best "dozens" players in the D.C. area... Legend has it that a few years back they took a train to the west coast for a gig and got into it one the way back that lasted the entire trip... Wore out alot of folks who were with them...

B~


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