McGhee, Brownie

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McGhee, Brownie Gender: M
Walter Brown McGhee
born on 30 November 1915 at 05:00 (= 05:00 AM )
Place Knoxville, Tennessee, 35n58, 83w55
Timezone CST h6w (is standard time)
Data source
Rodden Rating B
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 07°10' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 13°27 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 18°39'

Brownie McGhee (at the Nambassa 3 day Music & Alternatives festival, New Zealand 1981. Photographer Michael Bennetts)
photo: The original uploader was Mombas at English Wikipedia, license cc-by-2.5


African American folk music and Piedmont blues singer and guitarist, best known for his collaboration with the harmonica player Sonny Terry. As a duo, Terry and McGhee did most of their work from 1958 until 1980, spending 11 months of each year touring and recording dozens of albums.

Despite their later fame as "pure" folk artists playing for white audiences, in the 1940s Terry and McGhee had attempted to be successful recording artists, fronting a jump blues combo with honking saxophone and rolling piano, variously calling themselves Brownie McGhee and his Jook House Rockers or Sonny Terry and his Buckshot Five, often with Champion Jack Dupree and Big Chief Ellis. They also appeared in the original Broadway productions of Finian's Rainbow and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

During the blues revival of the 1960s, Terry and McGhee were popular on the concert and music festival circuits, occasionally adding new material but usually remaining faithful to their roots and playing to the tastes of their audiences.

Late in his life, McGhee appeared in small roles in films and on television. He and Terry appeared in the 1979 Steve Martin comedy The Jerk. In 1987, McGhee gave a small but memorable performance as the ill-fated blues singer Toots Sweet in the supernatural thriller movie Angel Heart.

McGhee died of stomach cancer on 16 February 1996 in Oakland, California, at age 80.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Death by Disease 16 February 1996 (Stomach cancer, age 80)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes from Guitar Styles of Brownie McGhee by Brownie McGhee and ‎Happy Traum (Oak Publications, 1971), p. 7: "I was born in a little place in Tennessee called Knoxville, which used to be the capital, once upon a time ... I was born on November the 30th at five o'clock in the morning, 1915... Walter Brown McGhee."


  • Traits : Body : Race (Black, African American)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Stomach)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Polio
  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Gastrointestinal (Stomach cancer)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Stomach cancer)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress (Film and TV)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Folk Music
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Group/ Duo (Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Guitar, piano, kazoo)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Music teacher
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc. (Blues)