Sonny Terry started playing harp in his teens, as a blind street musician in North Carolina. After a stint with a medicine show, he hooked up with the popular ragtime singer/guitarist Blind Boy Fuller. After Fuller's death in 1940, Terry teamed up with Brownie McGhee and the two began a long lived musical partnership. It took them from the socially conscious New York folk music scene of the forties, where they lived, worked and recorded with people like Leadbelly, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, to the concert halls of Europe as premier blues artists of the sixties.
WHOOPIN' THE BLUES (1969) is the longer, two-camera version of SHOUTIN' THE BLUES (1979) with different material. A 14-minute portrait of blues harmonica great, Sonny Terry, the film contains several songs and stories. Catching Sonny on tour in his Oakland motel room, filmmaker Yasha Aginsky made this solo portrait of him and then took it to New York in 1970 where it was broadcast by WNET on the National Educational Television network.
Sonny Terry: Whoopin' the Blues is available on DVD from Vestapol Videos .