Archive for the William CLARKE Category

William CLARKE – Tip Of The Top 1987

Posted in BLUES, William CLARKE on December 16, 2010 by whoisthemonk

William CLARKE – Tip Of The Top 1987
2000 Issue.


Tip of the Top is a loose tribute to William Clarke’s mentor, George Harmonica Smith, who taught Clarke many of his tricks. Clarke plays a selection of tracks that were staples in Smith’s catalog (including a version of “Hard Times,” which features Smith himself), as well as newer songs written in the same style. But what really makes Tip of the Top notable is how William Clarke begins to develop his distinctive, idiosyncratic sound on the record. Unlike his debut Can’t You Hear Me Calling, Tip of the Top explores some new sounds, which would come to fruition in his next few albums.
By Thom Owens, All Music Guide.
It’s truly a shame that William Clarke, one of the finest comtemporary bluesmen, had to pass away so long before his time. Clarke was in the midst of exploring brand new directions for blues and blues harmonica when he died. Fortunatly, Clarke did not leave us empty-handed. His legacy lives on in his outstanding recordings, including the excellent re-issue of one of his vintage eighties records.
For those expecting another album full of wildly different and unique sounding blues like Clarke’s Alligator releases, don’t. Tip of the Top is from back in the days when Clarke was still exploring and creating the sound which became his hallmark. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear some outstanding blues, though. Even if he hasn’t reached the revolutionary hieghts of those Alligator albums, Clarke still demonstrates himself to be a true master of the blues, and this is an album well worth hearing.
One of the qualities which has actually made this one of my favorite Clarke albums, is the ‘feel’ of this record. This is one of those rare discs which gives the listener the sensation of actually being at a live performance in a great blues venue. The music has grit and honesty to it rather than the polished feel that ususally comes across on studio albums. True, some of the tracks are live, but even the ones that aren’t have the feel. My personal favorites include “Chromatic Jump,” with Clarke’s brilliant chromatic harp front and center, and the moving “Triubte to George Smith.”
Also enjoyable are the guest appearances by Charlie Musselwhite and George ‘Harmonica’ Smith. Rather than overwhelme Clarke when they come into play, Musselwhite and Smith seem to complement him and even push him beyond himself. If only guest appearances worked out this well all the time.
Definatly a disc worth checking out, especially for those who are missing Clarke’s presence in the blues world.
By Alex Harpskier.
It has been a long, dreadful wait for this. Since William Clarke’s death in 1996, there has not been a blues release of this magnitude. “Tip of the Top” is both powerful and majestic; the awesome performances of Clarke and his guest musicians pave the way to some great blues listening. The local bar has a copy and it has not been taken out of the CD player since the first time it was played. Each and every time it is heard by someone new, they start to tap their toes and before you know it they’re up on their feet and boogying on the dance floor. I highly reccomend this release and once again thank KingAce Music and savor the memory of William Clarke.
By Jason Reed.
William Clarke was in my opinion one of the very best harpists that ever lived on this planet. As good as he was to blow a jazzy or jumping tune on the chromatic harmonica, the emotion he could express in a slow blues on the bluesharp, I’ve never heard any better. No note-blurring but playing and feeling every note in a very sensible way. This cd is a summary of his early period, featuring the guitarists Ronnie Earl, maybe the best known for the general bluesaudience, the late great Hollywood Fats, who was a master of traditional and jump blues, and the genial jump-blues guitarist Junior Watson who is just the best bluesguitarist still living (and coming to Europe too few). Don’t miss this record, drink a few beers less tonight and buy the record. You won’t regret it!!
By Micha Pudlo.
Bill Stuve- Bass
Bruce Thorpe- Guitar
Charlie Musselwhite- Vocals, Harmonica
Fred Kaplan- Guitar
George “Harmonica” Smith- Harmonica, Vocals
Hollywood Fats- Guitar
Jerry Monte- Drums
Joel Foy- Guitar
Junior Watson- Guitar
Rob Rio- Piano
Ronnie Earl- Guitar
Steve Killman- Guitar
William Clarke- Harmonica, Vocals
Willie Brinlee- Bass
01. Drinkin Beer 4:27
02. Just a Dream 3:28
03. Take a Walk With Me 3:45
04. Trubute to George Smith 7:40
05. Charlie’s Blues 3:51
06. Goin’ Steady 2:52
07. Hot Dog and a Beer 2:52
08. Chromatic Jump 4:26
09. Hard Times 4:14
10. Blowin the Family Jewels 2:41
11. Drinkin Straight Whiskey 3:17
12. Party Party 3:00
13. Got My Brand On You 3:24
14. My Dog Don’t Bark 2:35
15. My Wife Got Mad 3:53

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