One From 12-29

As we did yesterday, we’re going to dig into the product of the search function of the RealPlayer today and find a track recorded on today’s date, December 29. And in doing so, we find ourselves in the Sugar Hill club in San Francisco’s North Beach district.

That’s where blues artists Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee spent the evening of December 29, 1961, offering an eighteen-song set that was recorded but seemingly went unreleased until 1999, when the entire performance was released on CD as Backwater Blues. (It’s entirely possible that an abridged version of the performance was released as an album or that individual tracks from the Sugar Hill performance were included on compilations of one sort or another in the thirty-eight intervening years.)

Here’s the tune that became the title track of that performance from fifty-five years ago, “Backwater Blues” (titled that even though McGhee introduces the song as “Backwater Rising”).

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One Response to “One From 12-29”

  1. Tim McMullen says:

    I was fortunate to have seen Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry at least two dozen times in the mid-60s to early 70’s. They were often billed with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Sometimes they opened for Jack; sometimes he opened for them. Sometimes one or the other of the two acts would show up and play a set even if they weren’t billed. Brownie was one of my favorite guitar players. He was so smooth. His fingers rarely settled on chords but were constantly moving around the fretboard playing rhythm and lead simultaneously. He was also a very fine singer.

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