This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
(November 30, 1915 – February 16, 1996)
In 1941, Okeh Records had a problem. Best selling artist Blind Boy Fuller had just died suddenly from kidney disease. But the record company was desperate to bank on his stardom just a little while longer. So they hired Fuller’s protégé to record as “Blind Boy Fuller 2.” But this second “Blind Boy” wasn’t really blind—and was more than worthy of his own name. He was the multi-talented Brownie McGhee. And he went on to have a lifelong career as an artist, educator and an actor on stage and film. But when Brownie McGhee started, all he really wanted to do was go to school.
“I graduated from high school on June the 4th 1936, I had my diploma in my pocket. And I was going to look for a school to go to. I was very fond of education because I had polio when I was 5,and I figured if I could go to school I could get a job where I could sit down. Study something, be a lawyer or a doctor or something. I could be something. But I didn’t realize it took money. Tuitions got in my way which was confronting me and it drove me into a talent scout. He heard me playing my guitar down in the ghetto in North Carolina. So, Would you like to make records? Yeah I want to make records. I didn’t know what that was. That was the beginning of Brownie McGhee.” – Brownie McGhee