|Corey Harris’ recent performances at the Pennsylvania Blues Festival reinforced this writer’s view that he is amongst the foremost acoustic blues performers presently playing. While recent musical explorations blend blues with Jamaican and African musical traditions, he remains is a singular compelling performer of classic country blues. The following review of Fish Ain’t Bitin’ originally appeared in the May 1997 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 221) and likely also appeared in the DC Blues Calendar, the DC Blues Society newsletters which I edited at the time. I have previously posted reviews of Between Midnight and Day and Mississippi To Mali on this blog, and in a few more days I will be posting at least one more older Corey Harris review. Like most Alligator releases this should be readily available (www.alligator.com) and certainly a release any fan of acoustic blues should have.|
Larry Hoffman worked with Harris in producing this album and contributed three of the four brass arrangements, while Harris and the band arranged them for the closing Clean Rag. While if an impressive performer in what some might view as an archaic style, Harris’ own lyrics are right up to date and effectively deal with a rage of subject matter. His topical lyrics, such as the title song, are even more effective because he does not come across as preaching a message, but simply letting the import of his words make his message. Corey Harris most definitely impresses here on one of the best new recordings of downhome blues in years.
I most likely received a review copy of this recording from Alligator Records. Corey performed Skip James Devil Got My Woman at the Pennsylvania Blues Festival, so I have included a video of him performing this although from another event.