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Harmonica Blues [Yazoo]
     

Harmonica Blues [Yazoo]

 
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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/08/1991
Label:
Yazoo
UPC:
0016351015327
catalogNumber:
1053
Rank:
47288

Tracks

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
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
Sonny Terry   Composer
Robert Cooksey   Composer
Bobby Leecan   Composer,Contributor
DeFord Bailey   Composer
Gus Mueller   Composer
Buster Johnson   Composer

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