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Harmonica Blues [Yazoo]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Nathan Bush
It is perhaps a testament to the harmonica's status in music that even its finest practitioners remain relatively obscure. Compiling a disc of harp players, as Yazoo has done here, isn't going to turn up a bunch of familiar names. As an early document of an instrument that remained essential to the blues well after it became an electric medium, however, Harmonica Blues is excellent. The instrument served numerous roles during the 1920s and 1930s the period covered here, showing up in dance music, solo showcases, and blues; on street corners and in juke joints. An example of the instrument's novelty appeal is as good a place to start as any. Though Freeman Stowers' recorded ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Nathan Bush
It is perhaps a testament to the harmonica's status in music that even its finest practitioners remain relatively obscure. Compiling a disc of harp players, as Yazoo has done here, isn't going to turn up a bunch of familiar names. As an early document of an instrument that remained essential to the blues well after it became an electric medium, however, Harmonica Blues is excellent. The instrument served numerous roles during the 1920s and 1930s the period covered here, showing up in dance music, solo showcases, and blues; on street corners and in juke joints. An example of the instrument's novelty appeal is as good a place to start as any. Though Freeman Stowers' recorded conventional blues, he also relished in comic fare like "Railroad Blues." Bidding his woman farewell as she steps aboard a train, Stowers builds to a blistering pace in his steam engine imitation. The harmonica's ability to bend notes and produce vibrato made it particularly expressive when applied to blues. It's dynamic range and unique timbre meant that it could cut through an acoustic ensemble in a manner similar to a violin or slide guitar. Harp men step into the spotlight for particularly spectacular solos on the otherwise tepid blues of "I Want You By My Side" and "My Driving Wheel." Both De Ford Bailey and Jaybird Coleman, the two players to gain some degree of notoriety during their prime, are represented by a cut each. Bailey, a popular performer on Nashville's Grand Ole Opry displays his unparalleled technique on "Davidson County Blues," while Coleman proves that he was an exceptional vocalist as well on "Man Trouble Blues." Together, the artists gathered on Harmonica Blues represent the precursors to the great harp players of the electric era like Little Walter, Junior Wells, and Sonny Boy Williamson.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/8/1991
  • Label: Yazoo
  • UPC: 016351015327
  • Catalog Number: 1053
  • Sales rank: 62,969

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Railroad Blues - Freeman Stowers (3:09)
  2. 2 Crazy About You Baby - State Street Boys (3:03)
  3. 3 Wang Wang Harmonica Blues - The Carver Boys (3:02)
  4. 4 My Driving Wheel - Lee Brown (2:56)
  5. 5 Bay Rum Blues - Ashley & Foster (2:57)
  6. 6 I'm Going to Write and Tell Mother - Robert Hill (2:57)
  7. 7 Blowin' the Blues - Chuck Darling (2:57)
  8. 8 Harmonica Rag - Chuck Darling (2:18)
  9. 9 Man Trouble Blues - Jaybird Coleman (3:05)
  10. 10 I Want You by My Side - Jazz Gillum (3:29)
  11. 11 Friday Moan Blues - Alfred Lewis (3:14)
  12. 12 House Snake Blues - Skeeter Hinton (3:03)
  13. 13 Need More Blues - Bobby Leecan (3:15)
  14. 14 Davidson County Blues - DeFord Bailey (3:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Big Bill Broonzy Guitar
Carl Martin Guitar
Jaybird Coleman Harmonica, Track Performer
Lee Brown Piano, Track Performer
Jazz Gillum Harmonica, Vocals
William Harris Guitar
Jimmy "Skeeter" Hinton Harmonica
Robert Lee McCoy Harmonica
George Wilson Guitar
Robert Cooksey Harmonica, Track Performer
Chuck Darling Harmonica, Track Performer
Gwen Foster Harmonica
Hervey Hoskins Guitar
Bobby Leecan Banjo, Track Performer
Alfred Martin Guitar
R.D. Norwood Piano
Eugene Powell Guitar
Willie Harris Guitar
DeFord Bailey Track Performer
Freeman Stowers Track Performer
Bill Gaither Guitar
Clarence Ashley Guitar
Alfred Lewis Track Performer
State Street Boys Track Performer
The Carver Boys Track Performer
Ashley & Foster Track Performer
Chicken Wilson Track Performer
Robert Hill Harmonica, Track Performer
Technical Credits
Henry Busse Composer
Robert Crumb Cover Art
Jazz Gillum Composer
Nick Perls Mastering
Sonny Terry Composer
Robert Cooksey Composer
Bobby Leecan Composer, Contributor
DeFord Bailey Composer
Gus Mueller Composer
Buster Johnson Composer
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