Stick McGhee got his nickname during the years when he was pushing his handicapped older brother, future blues legend Brownie McGhee, in a wagon with a stick. Stick (his real name was Granville McGhee) served in the Army during WWII, during which time he often pulled out his guitar to play. One ditty that he wrote during the war had a lyric about, "drinking wine mother~~er, drinking wine." He recorded the song in 1946 for Harlem records, but changed the lyrics to, "Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee," and the song got a little airplay. Future Atlantic records founder Ahmet Ertegun heard it, and in 1949 tried to license  the track for his new label. It was nowhere to be found, so he took Stick and Brownie back into the studio to record it again, which was fortunate because the 1949 version adopted the new "rocking" rhythm, which was coming into vogue that year. The record became a hit, and was the first smash hit for Atlantic. This is rock 'n' roll, folks. To finish the tale, after the Atlantic record hit the charts, Decca dug up the old Harlem recording from 1946, and re-issued it as a Decca record. It flopped, because it didn't rock.

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The other record listed here, Let's Do It (Rock Away Blues), has never been reissued, as far as I know. This is the only place you will ever hear it, unless you have the 78.

Note, this artist is often called "Sticks" by mistake, but according to Atlantic Records labels and many other sources, it is "Stick." The reason for the mistake is that many drummers are called "sticks" as a nick name, so they assume it was his name too, but Stick McGhee was not even a drummer.

  1. Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee, 1949 (first minute)
  2. Let's Do It (Rock Away Blues), 1950 (selected minute)

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