FEATURED ARTIST / S
DOCD-5695 Granville “Stick” McGhee Volume 2 (1951-1960)
Stick McGhee, vocal, guitar.
With contributions by;
Brownie McGhee, guitar.
Harry Van Walls, piano.
Maxwell Lucas, alto sax.
Ed Vanderveer, trumpet.
Mickey Baker, guitar.
David “Bubba” Brooks, tenor sax.
Charles Rwalins, alto sax, tenor sax.
Genres: blues, rhythm & blues.
Informative booklet notes by Gillian Atkinson.
Meet You In The Morning bounces its way along with Brownie on vocal and guitar with Granville hollering the chorus. Another “rock and roller” that found favour but did not generate sufficient sales.
In 1952 he was approached by Dave Miller’s Essex label based in Philadelphia. Essex did not have the resources of Atlantic. They had no house band and no publicity machine.
At around this time it is likely that Granville turned to Bob Harris for to play bass with him. He resorted to one of his older compositions and recalled his army days again with a competent and moving performance of No More Reveille. Whiskey Woman and Loaded Dice is simply fun and catchy, the tune being derived from Jimmy Rodger’s version of “In The Jailhouse Now”. It’s not clear if these tracks garnered many sales for King but they invited Granville back in the September with a sparkling line up of session musicians and they cut some fine jump blues. Jungle Juice is an acceptable variant of “Drinking Wine” and Mickey Baker’s guitar licks are a particular pleasure. Wiggle Waggle Woo is rock and roll hokum, populist and pleasurable.
In February 1955 Granville was back at King and cut some fine blues tracks, the stress and strain serving to sharpen his vocals, the happy bounce of 1949 long gone but now the raw blues quality is appealing. The songs reflect the booze soaked life with its ups and downs personified in Double Crossin Liquor.
His final solo recording was for Herald Label sometime in 1960, with his favoured line up, although it’s not clear if it is Sonny Terry or J.C Burns on harmonica. Sleep In Job is probably autobiographical with Granville talking about working at the beach, washing pots and smoking pot, a change from the references to booze! The vocal doesn’t even sound like him, it’s a light and airy and only a hint of his trade mark growl. Interestingly, it has overtones of the youth orientated surfing songs that were that were to shortly overtake America. Money Fever’s lyrics would resonate with everyone and it is said that Granville did not re-record again with King because he never made any money at all from the sessions. The single had very limited success and it has been said that Granville became disillusioned with the music business. In fact, he recorded twice that year, 1960 saw Granville on guitar on Sonny Terry “Sonny’s Story” on Bluesville; J.C. Burris (hca) Sonny Terry (hca, vo) Sticks McGhee (g) Belton Evans (d) recorded at Rudy Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, October 13, 1960.