Which record got you hooked on blues harmonica? This week the Harp Surgery team goes back to Original Spin…
I’ll never forget the day I decided to take up blues harmonica. I was 18 years old, doing a crappy internship in a run-down part of the most boring town in England, and I decided to go shopping for music in my lunch hour. I can’t remember where I found the CD, but I do remember it just jumped right out of the shelf at me: Blue Skies, by some soulful-looking fellow named Muddy Waters.
The first track was ‘Mannish Boy’. I don’t recall the first listening per se, and yet I know exactly how it must have felt, because this bellowing, ball-tightening number still sends giant surges of electricity down the ole tendons. With Muddy on vocals, Willie Big Eyes Smith on drums, Bob Margolin on guitar and Johnny Winter on slide, the track’s signature riff has James Cotton on harp. I’d never heard of James Cotton, but that electric riff came shredding through my earphones like demonic buzz-saws being shot outta Satan’s crossbow.
I was hooked. (more…)