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
Running Time: 60 minutes