Sportin' Life Blues

This song is credited to the great Brownie McGhee, a country blues guitarist and singer who is best known for his collaborations with harmonica player Sonny Terry. The pair teamed up in New York City in the early 1940's and performed together for the next 30 years, becoming enormously popular and influential during the folk/blues revival of the 1960's. Here's a taste of how they did the song:

Audio clip: Sportin' Life Blues performed by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee



Here are two more, distinctly different approaches to Sportin' Life. The first is from another veteran of the 60's folk revival, Dave Van Ronk, pictured here with a promising young man hanging around the Village at that time, Bob Dylan. His take on this song is characteristic of the tasteful fingerstyle arrangements and gruff vocals he was known and loved for. He passed away in 2002.

Audio clip: Sportin' Life Blues- Dave Van Ronk

And lastly, here's a more jazzified treatment of the tune which, though performed with a full electric compliment, is probably the closest to our own. It's performed by an obscure British guitarist by the name of Eric Clapton with JJ Cale, who wrote two of Clapton's biggest hits, After Midnight and Cocaine. It's taken from their 2006 collaboration "The Road to Escondido". The clip includes one vocal chorus and a solo you might snag a couple licks from.

Audio clip: Sportin' Life Blues as performed Clapton and JJ Cale


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