The Amazing Sonny Terry

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Posted by Slip Kid on October 16, 2002 at 17:51:25:

'Absolutely the Best' and 'Long Way from Home'
Only two albums I have in my collection. I NEED MORE!!

After downloading several trax from online with Sonny and good ole' Brownie McGee, I thought to myself, "This I gotta' learn!!" So I picked up Sonny Terry Source Book by Tom Ball (excellent) and began riffing. Sonny is one of the only harpist that I've heard that plays almost CONSTANTLY through tracks with phrasing and riffs that are strung together like bows on a kite string from an endless ball of twine! His texture is wide and varied. Low playing chugging and high shrill exclaimations so well placed you'd think that Brownies vocals were meant for backing rythm only. Amongst the fact that he mastered his own distinctive Sonny 'wha' style at age 6, Sonny also was one of the only few to have played the harp upsidedown. Yup, that's right. High notes to the left, low notes to the right. Blinded one eye at a time in 2 seperate accidents, he first played with Blind Boy Fuller hearing him behind and old mining store where he used to play. Telling a little 'runner' boy to, 'go ask that guitar player if he wants to come play with me?' the boy returns seconds later with, 'that guitar feller would like to know if you want to go and play with HIM?!' A few years later he met up with Mr. McGee and embarked on a 3 decade playing spree which unfortunately ended on a sour note. The last 10 years were not particularly freindly years between the two, but they still continued touring and ading to their onslaught of definitive Peidmont style blues. There is yet to be another harp as expressive or diversified as that of the late Sonny Terry. Now even heaven's got the blues! God Bless you Sonny. And thanx for the muse!!

Top Notes to all

Slip Kid

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