Various Artists – Classic Harmonica Blues

Various Artists
Classic Harmonica Blues
Smithsonian Folkways

One man’s Classic is another man’s waste of an hour

Let me begin by saying that I actually love the sound of the harmonica. In fact I have a list of my Top 5 harmonica players, somewhere in my head and many years ago once actually learnt to play the instrument; but….20 random Blues and Jug-band harmonica tracks spread over 66 minutes when I only recognise Sonny Terry’s name is too much to bare.

Mercifully the majority of tracks aren’t instrumentals; but there aren’t very many memorable tracks here either and none appear to be ‘rare recordings’ that collectors will want to seek out.

Sonny Terry, with and without Brownie McGee appears four times, with Custard Pie Blues (probably featuring JC Burris on vocals) being the only track that I didn’t previously have; but it’s not really been a loss.

Some Classic Blues tunes make an appearance; Sweet Home Chicago, Nine Below Zero and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl; but I’ve heard better in local pubs over the years.

One interesting track is Minglewood Blues as it features John B Sebastian, Geoff Muldaur and Annie Raines but hardly merits a third listen.

If I’m forced to pick one stand out track, it probably be Dog Days of August by John Cephas and Phil Wiggins who I only know by reputation and have wanted to check out for years.

The album includes a 35 page booklet taking you through the history of the instrument and the background to most tracks; but the album itself just smacks of being a glorified £1.99 CD from Tesco.

Classic Harmonica Blues
Various Artists
Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD40204

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