This man can play the harmonica, and he does it in a variety of styles ranging from blues to jazz and rock of a sort and some very Caribbean/Latin sounding tunes; all of it is held together by his very adept harmonica playing. For someone who is billed as soulful blues harp player, this is a very slick and polished disc that seems to go much further towards jazz than blues. If you are looking for some down home blues harmonica, a la Sonny Terry, or maybe Junior Wells, or even Big Walter Horton this isn't the disc, this one definitely leans more to the jazz side of blues.
Don't be mislead by the above, this man plays harp extraordinarily well, but it is a very slick and clean brand of harp playing. He played with the Stones on their Some Girls disc, but that seems a stretch with what is presented here. The songs, nine of which he wrote or co-wrote, are fine, but not exceptional and give him plenty of room to play the harp. He does the lead vocals too and his voice is bland with very little to distinguish it. It doesn't carry a lot of grit or conviction from the street, nor show much of his Harlem upbringing, where his mother was a dancer and singer at the famed Apollo Theater. There is some good material here and he uses to show off his prodigious harp skills, however there are a couple of cuts that really leave the listener shaking their head and wondering why the cut was included (particularly Don't Call Me). Instead listen to the job he does on the Lieber-Stoller penned, Trouble, where he breaks loose on the harp.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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