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Release Date: 20/04/2018
Catalogue No.: JSP3011
Record Label: JSP
Format: CD

1988 - interesting times at the JSP empire (well, more of a cottage industry then). I was going up and down the motorways like a maniac, with some of the best blues players alive. Signing Carey Bell for a short UK tour was an exciting prospect. He was simply the best blues harmonica player and a very effective and distinctive singer. The complete package in other words … not averse to the occasional tipple, and always, always personally likeable. A product of the school of hard knocks and the university of hustle, he was ready and willing to do a recording deal. He was a unsure of the prospect of English musicians but a listen to a Bill Dicey album that had recently been recorded with the guitarist and bandleader for the session, Richard Studholme, brought a smile to his face - he knew he was in safe hands. Richard had a particular affinity with harmonica players having played in NYC with Bill Dicey for many years before returning to England. We did the album mid way through the tour so the guys had some gigs under their belts and had built up a personal rapport as well as trying out the material. Triple X studios in North London was the perfect studio for a small group, live-in-the-studio affair: 24 track, nicely equipped and great live room for the musicians in a circle-type situation. The original release became the first blues album to be released only on CD. For this release we have added some bonus tracks to achieve the best of both worlds - the original LP-length recording with some extra, very nice material. As you will hear, the ideas and creativity flowed. Carey had a few sips (not too much, not too little) and the sounds were brilliantly captured. Uncomplicated, direct music with a compelling sparseness. The bonus tracks come from a BBC radio session that was intended specifically for a ‘tribute to Muddy Waters’ programme - hence the titles involved. Just Carey and Richard Studholme, so an interesting contrast to the album session. Recorded in a really big studio at the BBC in Manchester, it has that big room sound. This is the first time this session has been combined with the Harpslinger tracks and they fit perfectly. Carey is no longer with us, but he left a legacy of (mainly) great albums and memories of some amazing gigs. He was up there with the very best. John Stedman



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Carey Bell


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