15. Sonny’s Flight (previously unreleased)
(Sonny Terry/copyright control)
Track 15 – “Sonny’s Flight” (MASTER 705)
The title assigned by Asch, for lack of anything better, was “Train Breakdown,” but we’ve retitled this song to distinguish it from the first track on this disc, for here is Sonny Terry truly in full flight. Simply put, has anyone living heard an E-major harmonica played like this, as Terry performs here, with Guthrie’s quiet guitar supporting Terry’s driving, pulsating mouth harp? (At this tempo, how many harmonica players could divide eighth notes into sixteenths, as Terry does here?) Asch’s robotic, insensate electric turntable, and cartridge captured true genius here, and we, the later listeners, are the beneficiaries. (For other harmonica virtuosi wailing train effects, see Meade, Spottswood and Meade, pp. 891-2.)
This cut apparently has never been released before.