Awe man… I hate to be a “Debbie Downer,” but I’m just not really into playing the album cover challenge going around on social media.
I tried and I am sorry… I like lots of music and I’ve never cared what genre it falls under or how cool the artist was or what their place in popular culture is. A good song is all I’ve really cared about. I get that the challenge is about the memories that a good song or record leave us with, so here we go.
The only record that truly changed my life is the self-titled album by Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee. It’s my favourite record of all time!
I used to listen to the 8-track every day with my grandfather when he’d drive me around in his big beige Mercury selling siding for houses. It sounds flawless still to this day. The musicianship, the production and their word play with one another is for the ages. Sonny wasn’t able to see, and Brownie wasn’t able to walk yet they performed all over the world together for decades. They were a beautiful couple of musicians and I’m so glad it was recorded.
My grandfather loved blues and jazz music so when I was with him he’d school me on the stuff and this record was the one that made me realize how music was a conversation.
I was into rock and rock at the time and he didn’t like The Rolling Stones or The Yardbirds very much. He thought they were posers and in a lot of ways he was right. Obviously not in every way but you have to consider where he was coming from. He thought those bands had stolen the music they were playing and profiting from it where black musicians hadn’t. I know a lot of them came back a gave credit where credit was due (this album was produced by John Mayall) but if we’re being honest here the originators did get ripped off.
Anyway… I’ve bought this record more times than I can count because I had too. Any time I’ve seen it in a record store or thrift shop I just grab it and then I’ve handed a copy to a friend who I think will appreciate it. When I can’t find it in my Vinyl collection I flip out and start texting people asking where it is. I always find it eventually and listen to it for days.
You can’t find it on digital streaming platforms. I’ve looked. A few songs are on YouTube though. If you’re ever in a record store and see it grab it. You won’t be sorry!