Today is the birthday of Sonny Terry (Saunders Terrell, 1911-1986). The North Carolina farm boy learned to play blues harp from his father and lost his eyesight due to injury by the time he was 16. Terry became a professional musician out of necessity, first playing with Blind Boy Fuller, and then establishing a long-standing musical partnership with Brownie McGhee which lasted from 1941 until his death.
Here are Sonny and terry playing the “Hootin’ Blues”:
To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc