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December 1999

Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee
Backwater Blues
Fantasy Records

The beloved blues duo Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee demonstrate their uncanny chemistry together on Backwater Blues (Fantasy 24750-2; 73:32). This live 1961 performance at the Sugar Hill in San Francisco provides a classic example of call-and-response and vocal harmony on old chestnuts like "Careless Love" and "Key to the Highway" as well as signature pieces like McGhee's "Lose Your Money" ("if you lose your money, please don't lose your mind/if you lose your woman, please don't fool with mine") and Terry's prime whoopin' 'n' hollerin' showcase, "Jet Plane Blues." Great storytelling set to song, done up in the sparse and brutally honest setting of acoustic guitar and harmonica.

Originally published in December 1999
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