Thursday, February 16, 2012

Looking Back At Superharps II - A Blues Harmonica Showcase

The following older review is from 2001 and likely was published in the DC Blues Society’s newsletter.

I have not heard Telarc’s initial Superharps session, but it was obviously successful enough for Telarc to follow it up with, Superharps II. The new volume features four blues legends, Chicago blues veterans Carey Bell and Snooky Pryor, and Louisiana blues legends Lazy Lester and Raful Neal (patriarch of the Neal clan). They are backed by a studio band that includes guitarist Kid Bangham and pianist Anthony Geraci.

It is only on the lengthy closing slow instrumental, Harp to Harp that all four play together. Each has at least one track on which they are the sole harp player. Various combination of players are heard on other tracks and all four acquit themselves capably although much of this material has been recorded by them before. Bell is his usual solid performer on a couple Muddy Waters tracks and Junior Wells What My Mama Told Me. I believe Snooky Pryor waxed Shake My Hand on his most recent Blind Pig album, and turns in a superlative performance on the jaunty Let Your Hair Down.

Lazy Lester’s four tracks do a very good job of evoking the classic Louisiana swamp blues sides with his remakes of Strange Things Happen and Blood Stains on the Wall being particularly strong highlights of this. Raful Neal's two selections are worthy additions to his body of recordings.

This is not a harmonica battle, but rather a showcase of four very strong blues personalties who get to showcase their music in the company of some colleagues for a very satisfying album.

Here is Raful Neal.

Here is Snooky Pryor

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