On February 6, 1974, Rice students gathered in the Band Hall to listen to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee not only play a short set, but also do a Q&A with the audience. The music is amazing, but it’s the answers from Terry and McGhee that are quite stunning.
When asked by a young woman in the audience about blues making them depressed or cry, Brownie McGhee eloquently responded with:
You’ve got to harden your heart to a certain point […] in order to tell people the truth. Blues is nothing but truth. Blues is not imagination. Blues is not dreams. Blues is a living thing. And I want people to know that. You don’t go out and dream up the blues and come out and tell it to be a fact.
Later on, Sonny Terry explains his harmonica technique.
While it’s a bit of a mystery why these two legends were touring with and opening up for Tim Weisberg, it is wonderful that they took the time to visit the campus and give such a wonderful impromptu interview.