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Album Review

Classic Harmonica Blues [coll] – [Smithsonian Folkways]

mickeyslim   5/22/2013   Blues, CD

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As the title indicates, another release of old timey blues harmonica sounds from Smithsonian Folkways. With the likes of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Phil Wiggins, John Cephas, Eddie Burns and more, this collects a good number of the often glossed over harmonica players.

Recordings from ’52 to ’08; tracks like ‘Take Your Fingers Off It’ sound like they are clearly home recordings (that one recorded by prolific writer and blues historian, Sam Charters) due to a slightly lower sound quality, even though most of the tracks are recorded in and around the late ’80s and ’90s.

The one person I’d never heard of, Doctor Ross the Harmonica Boss, blew me away, in fact, the harmonica playing on the album is undeniably influential to any aspiring harp player. The solo acts where it’s just a man and his harmonica signing a blues track are particularly impressive (Bye Bye Bird!). Deep, extensive liner notes… learn yo’ self something.

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