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Brownie McGhee – Video of the Week

Brownie McGhee “Key To The Highway”

Brownie McGhee is a Piedmont blues guitarist and singer best known for his near twenty-year partnership with harpist Sonny Terry. The two blues men traveled throughout the U.S. and Europe, making a name for themselves amongst the blues and folk revivals of the 50s and 60s. McGhee, born on November, 30 in 1915, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Here he is in 1966 performing “Key to the Highway” with Sonny Terry on harmonica and Pete Seeger on banjo.

The Song – Key To The Highway

Originally an acoustic number, “Key To The Highway” is blues at its rawest. With a woman driving a man out of his home, out of the state, and likely out of his mind. First recording is in 1940 by the pianist Charlie Segar backing it up with “Stop and Fix It Mama”.

Originally credits go to Segar alone, even though Big Bill Broonzy is co-writer, and this song being Broonzy’s best known composition; as well as being the most popular recording of Broonzy. Like many early blues numbers, it appears to have been built on other songs.  Other notable artists that did covers of it are The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and the Dominos’

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