Wednesday, November 2, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: HARPDOG BROWN - TRAVELIN' WITH THE BLUES
The Harpdog is an older-school kind of guy, and he hits all the right buttons here. His low growl turns into a moaning high note at the end of each verse on album opener Better Days, just like that Howlin' Wolf used to do. The sound is up close, hot, and ready for the stage, the real Chess feel, Brown's harp ripping through with lots of good distortion, while the barroom piano tinkles behind. Guests have names such as Big Jon and Little Victor and Kid.
And Charlie. Musselwhite, that is. The harmonica legend gives his nod of approval and friendship to his Canadian compadre with warm friends in the liner notes, and a duet on Moose On The Loose, a showcase harp instrumental. But Brown can stand on his own two feet (or lips), and this set of covers, classics and originals has everything from slow and sorrowful to party-hearty stuff such as his own For Better Or Worse, and the barrelhouse old-timey FIne Little Girl Rag. Already possessing the needed talent, Brown's also found the sound that blues musicians all crave.