Yeeehaaa, I'm back.
You're all happy, aren't you.
Well, you should be.
Brownie McGhee was born Walter Brown McGhee in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1915 and suffered from polio as a child, which incapacitated his leg.
His Brother is of course Stick ‘Spo-Dee-O-Dee‘ McGhee.
Sonny Terry wasn't born blind -- he lost sight in one eye when he was five, the other at age 18. That left him with extremely limited options for making any sort of feasible living, so he took to the streets armed with his trusty harmonicas. Terry soon joined forces with Piedmont pioneer Blind Boy Fuller, first recording with the guitarist in 1937 for Vocalion.
McGhee first met Sonny Terry in North Carolina in 1939 and worked with him and singer Paul Robeson in Washington, DC, in 1940. McGhee began to record for Okeh Records in 1940. He had Sonny Terry play on his recording session of Workingman's Blues, and a long-standing partnership was formed. Shortly after they relocated and broke into the New York Folk scene, working alongside Leadbelly, Josh White, and Woody Guthrie.
From 1942 to 1950 McGhee also ran his own music school, 'Home of the Blues', in Harlem. After the end of WWII, he began to record, both with and without Sonny Terry, for a myriad of R&B labels: Savoy, Alert, London, Derby, Dot, and Harlem.
Sonny Terry was doing the same with recordings for Jackson, Red Robin, RCA Victor, Groove, Harlem, Old Town, and Ember, usually with McGhee on guitar !
They were among the first Blues artists to tour Europe during the 1950s and recording to the early-'60s albums for Folkways, Choice, World Pacific, Bluesville, and Fantasy. They also toured with many Folk festivals in America, Canada and Europe, appearing on television and movies.
Both Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry continued to record solo as well as together. McGhee appeared in Tennessee Williams' play 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' on Broadway, 1955-57, and recorded several motion-picture soundtracks, and in 1987, McGhee gave a small but memorable performance as ill-fated blues singer, Toots Sweet, in the brilliantissimo Alan Parker's Angel Heart.
Anyway, they finally parted their ways in the mid-1970's due to personal problems. Sonny Terry continued to play and record, passing away in 1986. Brownie McGhee carried on for the next 10 years performing festivals and recording. His final appearance was at the Chicago Blues festival in 1995 before passing Feb.16, 1996, Oakland, California.Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee:* Rock Island Line ** Rockin' & Whoopin' ** Red River Blues *