Archive for the Carey BELL Category

Big Walter HORTON – Big Walter HORTON with Carey BELL 1973

Posted in Big Walter HORTON, BLUES, Carey BELL on December 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Big Walter HORTON – Big Walter HORTON with Carey BELL 1973
1989 Issue.


This album is a sensual gift for all of harmonica bluesfans! You can’t imagine how great “Big Walter” is playing and singing on this album with guest appearance of Carey Bell.Good work!A classical!
By  Ricardo Neves Gonzalez.
The teacher/pupil angle might be a bit unwieldy here — Bell was already a formidable harpist in his own right by 1972, when Horton made this album — but there’s no denying that a stylistic bond existed between the two. A highly showcase for the often recalcitrant harp master, and only his second domestic set as a leader. ~ Bill Dahl

His place on the honor roll of Chicago blues harpists long ago assured, Carey Bell truly came into his own in the ’90s as a bandleader with terrific discs for Alligator and Blind Pig. He learned his distinctive harmonica riffs from the Windy City’s very best (both Walters — Little and Big — as well as Sonny Boy Williamson II), adding his own signature effects for good measure (an otherworldly moan immediately identifies many of his more memorable harp rides).

Born Carey Bell Harrington in the blues-fertile state of Mississippi, he was already playing the harp when he was eight and working professionally with his godfather, pianist Lovie Lee, at 13. The older and more experienced Lee brought Carey with him to Chicago in search of steady musical opportunities in 1956. Gigs frequently proved scarce, and Carey eventually took up electric bass, playing behind Robert Nighthawk, Johnny Young, and his mentor Big Walter Horton. Finally, in 1969, Bell made his debut album (on harp) for Delmark, and he was on his way.

Bell served invaluable early-’70s stints in the bands of Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, touring extensively and recording with both legends. Alligator Records has been responsible for much of Bell’s best recorded work as a leader, beginning with a joint venture with Horton back in 1972. Four cuts by Bell on the first batch of Alligator’s Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1978 preceded his participation in the 1990 harmonica summit meeting Harp Attack!, which brought him into the studio with fellow greats James Cotton, Junior Wells, and Billy Branch. His solo set for Alligator, Deep Down, rates as his finest album. Bell has sired a passel of blues-playing progeny; best-known of the brood is mercurial guitarist Lurrie Bell.
By Bill Dahl. AMG.
01. Have A Good Time 3:48
02. Christine 4:03
03. Lovin’ My Baby 2:50
04. Little Boy Blue 3:14
05. Can’t Hold Out Much Longer 2:51
06. Under The Sun 3:51
07. Tell Me Baby 3:15
08. Have Mercy 3:45
09. That Ain’t It 2:40
10. Temptation Blues 3:43
11. Trouble In Mind 4:38
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Carey & Lurrie BELL – Dynasty! 1990

Posted in BLUES, Carey BELL, Lurrie BELL on December 12, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Carey & Lurrie BELL – Dynasty! 1990


You have to hear it to believe it. Father & son at their best all Carey & Lurrie Bell should be rated high. I have all of the Carey Bell cd’s, his second cd (Last Night) is the only weak one, a great collection for any harp lover. The vocals are also great, Lurrie’s guitar is just the style I like, a nice song selection too.
By Ronnie Cowlishaw Sr.
Carey Bell- Harmonica,Vocals
Lurrie Bell- Guitar,vocals
Pete Allen- Vocals,Guitar
Tyson Bell- Bass
James Bell- Drums
Guitar – Lurrie Bell, Pete Allen
Steve Bell- Harmonica
Jerry Soto- Organ
01. Brought Up The Hard Way 5:59
02. (I Shoulda Did) What My Mama Told Me 4:18
03. Sail On 5:52
04. I’ll Be Your 44 4:16
05. The Gladys Shuffle 6:08
06. I Need You So Bad 3:13
07. 1215 W. Belmont 1:45
08. Second Hand Man 6:18
09. New Harp In Town 3:24
10. Going Back To Louisiana 5:58
11. No Picks 2:33
12. I Don’t Need No Woman 8:19

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Carey BELL – Brought Up The Hard Way 1999

Posted in BLUES, Carey BELL on November 30, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Carey BELL – Brought Up The Hard Way 1999


Brought Up the Hard Way compiles a selection of Carey Bell’s best JSP sides; featured guests are Lefty Dizz and Louisiana Red.
By Steve Huey, All Music Guide.
Carey Bell has always been underrated. Were he given the credit he deserves, this man would be mentioned anywhere you hear the words “blues harp.” With a brilliantly fat tone, incredible phrasing and unsurpassed chromatic playing, Carey Bell easily takes his place as one of top three harpists playing today.
Brought up the Hard Way is a very good record, collecting ten tracks from his tenure with JSP records. His stay with the lable was not the highlight of his career, but it produced some very outstanding work and this record nails all the highlights without bringing along any of the fluff. Backed by a band consisting mostly of his offspring, Carey blows with authority on a set of mostly original tracks. The harp is the highlight, particularly on the chromatic workouts “Gladys Shuffle,” “85%” and the album’s highlight “Second Hand Man” (vastly superior to the take JSP originally issued).

The material is very good overall, though the tracks on which Carey is backing Lefty Dizz and Louisana Red are a bit weak compared to the eight featuring Carey as the front man. Though not as potent as Carey’s Alligator releases, Deep Down and Good Luck Man, this is still a very strong effort from one of the masters of blues harmonica.
By Alex Harpskier.
Louisiana Red- (Guitar, Vocals),
Lurrie Bell- (Guitar),
Carey Bell- (Harmonica, Vocals),
Richard Studholme- (Guitar),
Lefty Dizz- (Guitar, Vocals),
Pete Allen- (Guitar),
Jerry Soto- (Keyboards),
Tyson Bell- (Bass),
Andy Pyle- (Bass),
Geoff Nichols- (Drums),
James Bell- (Drums).
01. Strange Woman (3:51)
02. Gladys Shuffle (6:09)
03. Nineteen Years Old (5:00)
04. I’m Going Upstairs (6:37)
05. Brought Up The Hard Way (5:59)
06. It’s Alright In The Dark (6:55)
07. It’s So Easy to Love You (5:37)
08. 85% (4:40)
09. Locked Up So Long (4:54)
10. Second Hand Man (7:42)

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Carey BELL – Good Luck Man 1997

Posted in BLUES, Carey BELL on November 28, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Carey BELL – Good Luck Man 1997


Carey Bell is an effective and surprisingly versatile singer but it is his powerful harmonica that really stands out. One of the last of the major Chicago blues harpists, Bell (an alumnus of the Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon bands) had led his own groups for most of the previous 30 years when he came out with this disc. His longtime guitarist Steve Jacobs offers some concise and stinging comments but the leader is virtually the whole show on his CD, which finds him leading a tight six-piece group. Nothing too unusual occurs but the music definitely has plenty of spirit. By Scott Yanow. AMG.
The world needs more Carey Bells. With his fat tone, outstanding phrasing and great song selection, this man is truly worthy of legendary status among harmonica players, or blues men in general, for that matter. This man, and those like him, are the ones who will keep the blues harp tradition alive for years to come.
“Good Luck Man” is Bell’s follow-up to the outstanding “Deep Down.” With the same harp skill and strong sense of song selection, Bell turns out a record which equals, and in some ways surpasses, its predecesor. Bell opens with a great, funky rendition of Muddy Waters’ “My Love Strikes Like Lightening” which sets the standard for the rest of the album. This disc is highly enjoyable throughout as Bell showcases some outstanding originals and fine covers. Throughout all 14 tracks, Carey gives us all the great blues we want, and then some.

Carey Bell is clearly among the greatest living harpists (his only competition in my opinion being James Cotton and Sugar Blue). He has the fattest tone out there and excellent phrasing to boot. This record demonstrates those skills well, as Bell blows up a storm on all pieces. Particularly memorable are the instrumental “Bell Hop” and the elegant, low down “Hard Working Woman,” the latter demonstrating Bell’s unsurpassed skill on chromatic harp.

Overall, this is an outstanding album. True, it feels a bit like a sequel to “Deep Down,” but given the quality ofmusic on both records, I don’t think there can be any just complaints. “Deep Down” may still be the essential first purchase from the Carey Bell catalog, but this one would definatly be the next stop on the list.
By Alex Harpskier.
Carey Bell- (Vocals, Harmonica)
Will Crosby- (Guitar)
Johnny Iguana- (Piano)
Johnny B. Gayden- (Bass)
Willie Hayes- (Drums)
01. My Love Strikes Like Lightning 4:10
02. Love Her, Don’t Shove Her 3:25
03. Sleeping With The Devil 3:48
04. Hard Working Woman 4:38
05. Bell Hop 3:42
06. Bad Habits 4:49
07. Good Luck Man 5:24
08. Hard Hearted Woman 3:55
09. Going Back To Mississippi 3:42
10. I’m A Business Man 3:22
11. Teardrops 7:08
12. Brand New Deal 4:20
13. Good Lover 3:50
14. Double Cross 2:46

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Carey BELL & Tough Luck – Mellow Down Easy 1991

Posted in BLUES, Carey BELL on November 24, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Carey BELL & Tough Luck – Mellow Down Easy 1991


The harpist hooked up with a young Maryland-based band called Tough Luck for this disc, certainly one of his better outings. The traditional mindset of the combo pushed Bell back to his roots, whether on the originals “Just like You” and the Horton homage “Big Walter Strut” or revivals of Muddy Waters’ “Short Dress Woman” and “Walking Thru the Park” and the classic Little Walter title cut.
By Bill Dahl. AMG.
Carey cut his first record as a sideman with Earl Hooker in 1968. For the next 2 years, he and guitarist Eddie Taylor led the house band at Big Duke’s Flamingo Club on Chicago’s west side. He found the time to leave Big Duke’s on occasion, touring Europe with John Lee Hooker in 1969, and finally quitting for good when Muddy Waters offered him a job in 1970. He stayed with Muddy for a year, recording an album with him and Steve Winwood in London before deciding to strike out on his own once again.

For the last 2 decades, Carey has continued to tour extensively as a bandleader and, on occasion, as a sideman. He toured Australia and New Zealand with Willie Dixon in 1974, and has been a frequent visitor to Europe and Canada, often with his talented guitarist son Lurrie. Stylistically, he remains true to his “musical father” in his use of melody and dynamics, yet there is a difference. Whereas Walter Horton’s melodies were often ethereal, Bell’s remain firmly rooted in reality. Like many great musicians, he “speaks” with his harmonica, reinforcing and commenting on the lyrics of whatever song he is singing, whether happy or sad.

Mellow Down Easy is an appropriate title for Bell’s Blind Pig recording. The music has a relaxed feel to it, from J.T. Brown’s “Short Dress Woman” to Jimmy Rogers’ (J.A. Lane) “Walkin’ By Myself”. Bell pays tribute to his former bandleaders with 2 originals, “Delta Time” (to Muddy Waters) and “Big Walter Strut” (to Big Walter Horton) and his cover of “Mellow Down Easy”, written by the great Willie Dixon. A master of chromatic harp, he brings Little Walter-like elements to the opening bars of “St. Louis Blues” before breaking into a light and jazzy swing tempo. “One Day” is an original twelve bar blues with Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) vocal stylings, its light tone in sharp contrast to the following, more heartfelt tune, “So Easy To Love You”.

Carey Bell’s blues are timeless. Mellow Down Easy is comprised of both original and cover material, yet labels such as “contemporary” and “traditional” do not necessarily apply. What you have here is simply the blues played and sung with honesty and exuberance by one of the best in the business.
Carey Bell– Vocals & Harmonica
Steve Jacobs– Guitar
Brian McGregor– Bass
Buddy Grandell– Drums
Lips Lackowitz– Harmonica
Kevin McKendree– Organ
01. Short Dress Woman 3:15
02. Delta Time 3:34
03. Five Long Years 3:47
04. Mellow Down Easy 2:58
05. For The Love Of A Woman 3:13
06. Just Like You 4:14
07. Walkin’ Thru The Park 2:42
08. St. Louis Blues 4:37
09. That Spot Right There 3:35
10. Big Walter Strut 3:19
11. One Day 3:12
12. So Easy To Love You 5:28
13. Walkin’ By Myself 3:08

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Carey BELL & Lurrie BELL – Goin' on Main Street 1982

Posted in BLUES, Carey BELL, Lurrie BELL on November 21, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Carey BELL & Lurrie BELL – Goin’ on Main Street 1982


Originally recorded for Germany’s L+R label in 1982, this studio date for Carey Bell’s Blues Harp Band finds the group stretching out on seven lengthy blues jams. Son Lurrie Bell contributes some nice licks, including a tortured solo to close out a nearly ten-minute version of “I Am Worried,” and other son Carey Bell Jr. anchors the rhythm section on electric bass.
By John Bush. AMG.
Carey Bell– Vocals & Harmonica
Lurrie Bell– Vocals & Guitar
Elisha ‘Eli’ Murray– Guitar
Tom Zydron– Keyboards
Carey Bell Jr.– Bass Guitar
Theodore ‘Dino’ Davies– Drums
Hubert Sumlin– Guitar
Bob Stroger– Bass
Odie Payne Jr– Drums
Phil Wiggins– Harmonica
01. Goin’ on Main Street (3:55)
02. I Am Worried (9:40)
03. Heartaches and Pain (6:27)
04. Easy To Love You (7:27)
05. Train Ticket (4:40)
06. When a Woman Get in Trouble (6:23)
07. Tribute To Big Walter (4:13)
08. I Need You So Bad (7:21)
09. Man and The Blues (7:03)

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Carey BELL – Deep Down 1995

Posted in BLUES, Carey BELL on November 20, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Carey BELL – Deep Down 1995
Recorded at Streeterville Studios, Chicago, Illinois


Now one of the few survivors of the Chicago blues harmonica scene that once included Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson, Bell has the control, full tone, and attack of his mentors. A former sideman for Muddy Waters, he was one of the last to learn his craft at the hands of the masters. This, his first Alligator album from 1995, updates several blues harmonica classics (Little Walter’s “I Got to Go,” Sonny Boy Willliamson’s “After You,” and a superb reading of Walter Horton’s “Easy”), without ever losing sight of Alligator’s company credo of “House Rockin’ Music.” In truth, Bell is not a great vocalist, and if the Walters and the Sonny Boys were still around, he wouldn’t get a look-in. As it is, he’s one of the few surviving bluesmen to come up from Mississippi, having seen and heard much of what the old guys saw.
By Colin Escott. AMG.
I have heard a great deal of praise for this album over the several years since I became a harpist and I had long been curious if it was worth the great reviews it got. Finally, I afforded the opportunity to hear it for myself when I recieved it as a gift. My initial reaction was WOW! I had heard Carey Bell before, but not like this. This album has a distinctly tough, gritty feeling, the like of which I haven’t heard since I picked up Junior Wells’ outstanding “Hoodoo Man Blues.”
The harp is the real show stealer here. Carey Bell has always been a bit underrated, not getting quite the same recognition as James Cotton or Little Walter. On this album, Carey clearly demonstrates that he can match anyone playing today. His tone is unbelievably fat, and his phrasing is remarkably intricate. Coupled with his ability to blow chromatic harmonica like no other, Bell really is one of the greatest players out there.

Carey Bell is not the most talked about vocalist, and has actually been derided as being a sub par singer. I don’t get it. He’s not Muddy Waters, but in his own way, Carey is a good blues singer. His rough voice works well, particularly on such tracks as “When I get Drunk.”

The backing band is definatly in the groove too, with Lucky Peterson giving great work on keys and Carey’s son, Lurrie, puts on a show on guitar.

Overall, this is a stellar blues album. I had always liked Carey’s work. After I heard this, he quickly became a personal favorite in the word of harmonica players. Once you hear this disc, you’ll understand exactly what I mean.
By  Alex “Harpskier”.
More than a quarter century after he cut his debut album, Bell recently made his finest disc to date. Boasting superior material and musicianship (guitarists Carl Weathersby and Lurrie Bell and pianist Lucky Peterson are all stellar) and a goosed-up energy level that frequently reaches incendiary heights, the disc captures Bell outdoing himself vocally on the ribald “Let Me Stir in Your Pot” and a suitably loose “When I Get Drunk” and instrumentally on the torrid “Jawbreaker.” For a closer, Bell settled on the atmospheric Horton classic “Easy”; he does it full justice.
By Bill Dahl, AMG.
Lucky Peterson- (Piano),
Lurrie Bell- (Guitar),
Ray Allison- (Drums),
Carey Bell- (Harmonica),(Vocals),
Johnny B. Gayden- (Bass),
Carl Weathersby- (Guitar).
01. I Got To Go 3:56
02. Let Me Stir In Your Pot 3:42
03. When I Get Drunk 5:16
04. Low Down Dirty Shame 4:29
05. Borrow Your Love 3:59
06. Lonesome Stranger 4:03
07. After You 3:41
08. I Got A Rich Man’s Woman 4:43
09. Jawbreaker 2:57
10. Must I Holler? 7:00
11. Tired Of Giving You My Love 3:49
12. Easy 4:44

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