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VA - Deep Harmonica Blues (Excello) (1996)
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VA - Deep Harmonica Blues (Excello) (1996)

20-02-2014, 18:13
Music | Blues

VA - Deep Harmonica Blues (Excello) (1996)

Artist: Various Artists
Title Of Album: Deep Harmonica Blues (Excello)
Year Of Release: 1996
Label: Ace Records
Genre: Harmonica Blues
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 61:43
Total Size: 167 Mb
Covers: Full

01. Jerry 'Boogie' McCain - Courtin' In A Cadillac (2:15)
02. Jerry 'Boogie' McCain - That's What They Want (2:22)
03. Blues Rockers - Calling All Cows (2:42)
04. Blues Rockers - Johnny Mae (2:52)
05. Sonny Boy Williamson II - Not Welcome Anymore (Sanafee) (2:50)
06. Sonny Boy Williamson II - Chuck-A-Luck (Chicken) (3:11)
07. Little Sonny - Love Shock (1:56)
08. Little Sonny - I'll Love You Baby (Until the Day I Die) (2:05)
09. Sonny Boy Williamson I - Bring Me My Machine Gun (Aka Baby Boy Blues) (2:47)
10. Sonny Boy Williamson II - Hello Stranger (2:43)
11. Ole Sonny Boy - You Better Change (2:21)
12. Ole Sonny Boy - Blues And Misery (2:51)
13. Jerry McCain & His Upstarts - You Don't Love Me No More (2:33)
14. Jerry 'Boogie' McCain - Things Ain't Right (2:50)
15. Lightnin' Slim - Goin' Home (2:01)
16. Lightnin' Slim - I'm Grown (2:27)
17. Slim Harpo - Wonderin' And Worryin' (2:12)
18. Lazy Lester - They Call Me Lazy (3:23)
19. Whispering Smith - Harmonica Twist (2:07)
20. Whispering Smith - Please Give Me One More Chance (2:56)
21. Jimmy Anderson - Shut Your Mouth (2:28)
22. Jimmy Anderson - Rats And Roaches On Your Mind (2:21)
23. Jolly George - When I Met You Baby (3:01)
24. Jolly George - She's Got Me (2:17)

"A mouth-watering array of collectible post-war downhome blues featuring the original classic amplified harmonica sound". So reads the blurb for Ace's compilation Deep Harmonica Blues, another in the reissue label's rummage through the archives of Nashville's Excello records. I must have half a dozen albums assembled from Excello material and, apart from Southern Rhythms – an album of instrumentals by studio bands whose normal day job was to back the more celebrated artists on the label's roster – they are all superb. I'm happy to report Deep Harmonica Blues easily maintains the standard.

What makes this album special is the rawness of both the production and the performances. According to the liner notes, the founder of Excello was one Ernie Young who was particularly careful with his money. He had all the necessary equipment. but no recording studio. Instead, Young used rooms within his record store and the result is a cavernous sound and tone which can alter during the course of a track. The off-the-cuff atmosphere this creates has a ramshackle charm made all the more captivating by some of stellar performances – although it has to be said that some of the drumming makes Meg White sound like Neil Peart!

As for the tracks themselves?

There are four excellent cuts from Baby Boy Warren who was lucky enough to have Sonny Boy Williamson sit in on his session. Williamson's harp playing swoops up and down like a hawk in windstorm and can tend to dominate, but "Hello Stranger" and "Bring Me My Machine Gun" are standouts. Equally powerful is Whispering Smith's "Please Give Me One More Chance" with Smith's deep booming vocal giving the lie to his nickname. Then there's Little Sonny's "Love Shock" and "I'll Love You Baby (Until The Day I Die)" which sound like they were recorded inside a drainpipe such is the echo. Yet it adds a surprisingly sophisticated timbre to proceedings. Slim Harpo is a regular invitee to Ace compilations and his nasal drawl on "Wonderin' and Worryin'" is always welcome.

As expected there are a number of artists I've not heard from before. There may not be anything original about Ole Sonny Boy's "You Better Change" but it provide a rollicking good listen and Jimmy Anderson's "Shut Your Mouth" shows promise. And talking of Anderson, I'm used to innuendo playing a sizeable part in the blues canon, and "Calling All Cows" by The Blues Rockers seems to fit the bill, but I've listened to Anderson's "Rats And Roaches On Your Mind" from all angles and can't interpret it any other way than literally. So I'm guessing this must be one of, what I can only imagine to be, a microscopic number of songs on the subject of fumigation and the most effective mix of chemicals to get the job done.

If I needed any incentive to keep raiding Ace's extensive catalogue – and I don't – Deep Harmonica Blues provides it in spades. I'm not sure whether there are any further Excello compilations out there but I'll certainly be keeping my eyes peeled. ~Gramp.

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