Talk:Sonny Terry

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Comment moved from article[edit]

This article states that Sonny Terry his first commercial recordings date from 1940. This is incorrect. As early as 1937 Sonny already recorded with Blind Boy Fuller (Fulton Allen). RCA label December 12 1937. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 80.126.25.251 (talkcontribs) 27 August 2006.

Birthplace[edit]

This article states that Sonny Terry was born in Greensboro North Carolina, this is not correct Sonny Terry was born in Greensboro Georgia and moved to Shelby North Carolina when he was a teenager. Sonny came to the Greensboro, and Durham area when he as an Adult inorder to play with Fulton Allen (Blind Boy Fuller. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 69.249.110.23 (talkcontribs) 3 September 2006.

Please, if you have citations on these things, edit the article. - Jmabel | Talk 06:26, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
People keep changing this back and forth, and no one has provided a solid citation. - Jmabel | Talk 05:29, 21 March 2007 (UTC)
The correct birth place of Greensboro Georgia; can be found in a direct quote from Sonny Terry on page 7 in the book: Cooper, Kent, and Palmer, Fred, eds. The Harp Styles of Sonny Terry. New York: Oak, 1975 pp 7.
A Google Books search show that the jury is still out on this one (Sonny Terry Greensboro):[1]

I met and spoke with Sonny Terry numerous times in the 1970's. I have studied his music extensively for 35 years. Sonny personally told me he was born in Greensboro Georgia not Greensboro North Carolina. The book "The Harp Styles of Sonny Terry by Kent Cooper and , Fred Palmer" documents this. Consider, as proof that Sonny was from Georgia in the book he is quoted as speaking of a older brother living in the nearby town of Griffin. As there is a Griffin nearby in Georgia and no Griffin in North Carolina.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.176.206.246 (talkcontribs)

Notwithstanding personal accounts like the one above, often more valid than the "official" version (even if they cannot be substantiated) and less likely to result from the carelessness of a journalist (as is, unfortunately, too often the case in the music business), I've always been surprised at the seeming difficulty in establishing Terry's birthplace.
However, the article needs to mention the discrepancy because it causes confusion to read different accounts, and people will hopefully come to Wikipedia to check up on any doubts that may arise. Personally, but irrelevant as regards the article, I'm more convinced by the circumstancial evidence suggesting the NC origin 'cos of the more frequent references to places he stayed at in that state and the distances involved. According to Bastin, Bruce (1995) Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast, pp. 262-64. University of Illinois Press he was born in Greensboro (NC) and moved to Shelby (NC) (where his sister Daisy lived - his brother Jaboo moved to Wadesboro (southeast of Charlotte, NC) and Terry later worked with Blind Boy Fuller in Durham (Patterson, Daniel W. & Charles G. Zugg III (1990) Arts in Earnest: North Carolina Folklife, p. 229. Duke University Press), where he met McGhee and where Hammond came across him (Prial, Dunstan (2007) The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music. Macmillan). Of course, the fact that he starts out as a musician in NC doesn't rule out that he may have been born elsewhere, but surely moving within a state was more normal than changing state in those days? Cheers! --Technopat (talk) 19:09, 7 July 2013 (UTC)
BTW, these discrepancies aren't as strange as they may seem, and there's a similar issue regarding his contemporary, Muddy Waters. Regards, --Technopat (talk) 19:35, 7 July 2013 (UTC)

Anecdote[edit]

In about 1978 or 1979, Brownie and Sonny made one of their last tours, and I went to listen to them in a mid-week concert in Nacogdoches, TX, where I was in college. As a blues fan, I sat on the front row. The set opened with a long solo by Brownie, who surprised me with his excellent guitar. When it came time for Sonny to jump in, he accidently picked up the wrong harp and came in off key. Immediately realizing it, he reached for the correct harp. Since I was on the front row, I could hear Brownie turn to him and say under his breath, "Forty years and you still can't get it right." From that, I always pictured them like an old married couple, having played together all their lives. But they were excellent in the concert, and it was one I'll always cherish. I was able to hear the great Brownie and Sonny, who reached right out of the Depression of 1938. Glenn, 10/07. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.6.87.43 (talk) 02:08, 29 October 2007 (UTC)