Posted by themusicsover on February 16, 2010
Walter “Brownie” McGhee
November 30, 1915 – February 16, 1996
Brownie McGhee was a blues singer and guitarist who came to prominence during the post WWII years. McGhee first learned to play on a “guitar” fashioned together out of an old tin box and a piece of wood by his uncle. While still a child, he sang in a local gospel group. By the late ’30s, McGhee was earning his living as a traveling musician, often working with Blind Boy Fuller, who taught him the ropes. Within a few years, McGhee was making his first recordings for the legendary Okeh Records. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, McGhee mostly recorded and performed as a due with harmonica great, Sonny Terry. They made several significant recordings together and were featured performers at the storied Newport Folk Festival and other high profile venues. In 1979, they performed in the Steve Martin film The Jerk. Brownie McGhee was 80 when he died of stomach cancer on February 16, 1996.