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Blues with Big Bill Broonzy, Sonny Terry

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  • Taped live on the air at WFMT Chicago in 1957, this Folkways recording is an extremely entertaining collection. 12 outstanding performances are scattered between questions from interviewer Studs Terkel, giving the session a very live and impromptu feeling. The material itself is first-rate, with Broonzy, McGhee, and Terry all taking separate turns with their own selections, as well as trading off verses in songs on which all three play. From McGhee's "Blood River Blues" to Broonzy's guitar workout on "Shuffle Rag," the material is consistently engaging. Even better, we get to hear each of the blues legends give their own definitions of the blues as well as their earliest memories and experiences with the music. In addition to this, each explains his connection to the songs before he sings them. The listener is even treated to an impromptu jam session during which all three trade off-the-cuff verses. At Broonzy's urging the three decide to show what they consider an essential link between spirituals and the blues, and each closes out the set with a spiritual, with all of them joining in on "When the Saints Go Marching In." Overall, this is an extremely interesting and entertaining blues document and resource. ~ Matt Fink
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