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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Corey Harris

Fulton Blues

Review by Gary Hill

This new edition includes two live tracks. Honestly, I think I’d like it better without those two songs. They don’t seem to be as good as the rest, and they interrupt the flow. They don’t feel like they fit. As to the album proper, though, this is great stuff. Too many times, blues is a one-dimensional kind of thing. A whole album can feel like multiple iterations of the same two or three songs. There is a wide range of sounds here. That keeps this from feeling monolithic. It’s really a great set with some killer blues.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Crying Blues

This is a smoking hot jazz infused blues number. It’s energized, classic and classy. The horn section adds so much to the mix.   

Underground
In sharp contrast, this is a stripped back, Robert Johnson like blues number. It’s quite a strong one. The vocal arrangement steals the show, but the intricate guitar playing is noteworthy, too.
J. Gilly Blues

Another old-school, stripped back blues song, this one has some harmonica added to the mix. It’s gritty and very cool.   

Black Woman Gates
Here we get another acoustic blues number. It’s got some great riffs and catchy hooks. It’s classy stuff, no question about it.
Tallahatchie
This time it’s back into the full arrangement and jazzy flavor. This one just oozes cool. There is really a great R&B or soul vibe to this one. It’s one of my favorites of the set. It has a killer groove.
Fulton Blues
Another acoustic blues number, the harmonica is back here, too.
Devil Got My Woman
I love the guitar picking and the harmonica on this number. It’s another slow moving, acoustic based blues.
House Negro Blues
The slow, soulful sound of this number is great. The cut is such a cool blues. It’s jazzy, but also full on blues. At times it seems to have a little bit of a Dixieland vibe to it.
Black Rag
As the title suggests, this is more or less a rag-time tune. It’s acoustic based, down home and pretty cool. It’s not really my kind of thing, but I can appreciate the skill and concept. I like the little bits of horn and more in the mix.
Catfish Blues
One of my favorites of the set, this is a killer electric blues stomper. It’s got great guitar soloing and a smoking hot vocal delivery. The saxophone adds a lot, too. The guitar solo is arguably the best one here.
That Will Never Happen No More
With intricate guitar, this feels more like an acoustic folk song than it does the blues. It’s a great cut and a great bit of variety.
Lynch Blues
With harmonica, this is a stripped back acoustic blues. Its lyrical content is a bit hard to take, but it’s an important historical message.
Maggie Walker Blues
Folk music and Robert Johnson styled blues collide on this intricate and powerful number.
Fat Duck's Groove
This is very much a jazz and rock and roll based blues number. It’s a lot of fun. This instrumental features some great horn playing.
Better Way
The first of two bonus live tracks, this is much more of a bouncy jazz pop tune. It’s a bit low in terms of volume in comparison to the rest of the set. There seem to be some issues with the recording as far as the mix goes, too. This is not bad, but I think the disc would be stronger without it. Sure, it’s a bonus track, but if you let the thing go, you have to hear it.
Esta Loco
With a Latin vibe to it, this is jazzy and fun. It’s got some problems, too, though. I think, again that a version of the album without the bonus tracks would actually be stronger. More isn’t always better. I suppose, though, if you don’t plan to listen to this start to finish and just want some extra music, it’s a good thing. These two songs just don’t seem to fit or be at the same level by any measure, as the rest.

 

 
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