In a first for this label, we get a fabulous collection of modern day harp performances from Electro-Fi’s back catalogue. In an era where it seems only guitar players get noticed, this collection is a welcome antidote. It’s also an indication of the breadth of traditional blues in the catalogue: from the opening solo live-in-the-studio flight of Paul Oscher on several harmonicas to the full out acrobatics of Mark Hummel’s “Harpoventilating”. Post-war blues pioneers Snooky Pryor, George “Harmonica” Smith, Little Mack Simmons, Billy Boy Arnold and Sam Myers are all here as well as later stars like James Harman, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Rip Lee Pryor, and Harmonica Shah. The Canadian contingent is well represented with Harrison Kennedy & Al Lerman. There are, of course, guitar players present: Mel Brown, Jeff Healey and Jack de Keyzer to name but three. Amid such a banquet, it seems foolish to choose highlights but Snooky’s “Headed South”, Hummel’s “Harpoventilating”, Lerman’s “Liquified Boogie” and Sam Myers’ “Ninety-Nine” are four that stood out just a little bit more. There is nothing previously unreleased here, for the completists among us, but it is beautifully chosen and very well sequenced. Both as instrumentalists and in accompanying their songs, harp players finally get their due in this generous, 70-minute program. The release date is Nov. 17th, go to www.electrofi.com to find out more.

John's Blues Pick November 2017 - Little Miss Higgins
Top Blues - November 2017