1998 32¢ Sonny Terry
Issue Date: March 19, 1998
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Banknote Corporation of America
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Die Cut 11.3
Saunders Terrell (1911-1986), later known as Sonny Terry, lost his sight as a result of an accident when he was a child. Born to a poor family in Greensboro, Georgia, he was a self-taught harmonica player, picking up songs heard at home and at church. His public performances began as a boy, when he traveled to local churches in the South playing his harmonica.
Sonny began learning new songs and, by performing in nightclubs, became recognized as a talented musician. During the 1930s, he traveled across the country, making a name for himself playing colleges and concert halls, sometimes with his friend Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter.
Sonny made his first record in 1936 with Blind Boy Fuller, who was his partner throughout the 1930s. His talents were finally recognized nationally in the 1940s when he toured with Woody Guthrie and Brownie McGhee, as well as with Pete Seeger. Brownie McGhee was his steady sidekick for more than 40 years. The pair released several dozen records, and Sonny continued to produce recordings into the 1980s.
Remembered for furthering the art of harmonica accompaniment, Sonny Terry is famous for the amazing array of sounds he could produce using the instrument. One of his best-known renditions is of the “Fox Chase.”