Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Corey HARRIS - Fish Ain't Bitin' 1997

Corey HARRIS - Fish Ain't Bitin' 1997


Corey Harris' second outing for Alligator shows that he's no one-album flash in the pan, with this sophomore effort moving his modern-day acoustic Delta blues vision into even broader territory with delightful results. While his debut effort illustrated Harris' absolute mastery of older Delta styles, both instrumentally and vocally, Fish Ain't Bitin' charts new terrain using that first album as a stylistic building block. The big news here is that over half of the 17 songs are from Corey's own pen and compositions like "High Fever Blues" (heard here in two versions), "5-0 Blues," "Berry Owen Blues," and "If You Leave Me" show that he's more than adept in wedding contemporary influences to his down-home country sound. Adding to that are his takes on Son House's "Preaching Blues," Memphis Minnie's "Bumble Bee Blues," Big Maceo's "Worried Life Blues" and Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Jack O'Diamonds," all of them rendered in the proper spirit and context and all of them sounding nothing like the originals -- a tough feat to pull off, but one that Harris does with consummate ease, imbuing these warhorses with the stamp of his personality. Several tracks also feature a trombone and tuba or string bass working in tandem with Corey's National steel-bodied guitar, making a Mississippi-New Orleans musical connection that sounds perfectly natural. No sophomore jinx here, as Corey Harris has turned in one great little album that examines the music's past while looking forward to the future for more input.
By Cub Koda, All Music Guide.
Performing the old standard "Frankie and Johnnie" with an acoustic guitar is hardly a radical step in blues, but this young singer-songwriter is much more than a revivalist. Using tuba accompaniment on the opening "High Fever Blues" and covering obscurities like Memphis Minnie's "Bumble Bee Blues," the Denver-born Harris finds new spirit in traditional blues on his second album. He has the sort of effortless bluesman's voice that gave forebears Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, and Muddy Waters their depth and spirit, so we can feel the worry in "Mama Got Worried" and the fear in "If You Leave Me."
By Steve Knopper.
While Harris's first album, BETWEEN MIDNIGHT AND DAY was strong but unsurprising, FISH AIN'T BITIN' finds Harris moving into uncharted waters. The addition of a New Orleans-style horn section (two trombones and a tuba) and a percussionist provide striking contrast to the acoustic-based approach of Harris's debut, and complement his country blues fingerpicking perfectly. While a traditional Delta flavor is maintained throughout, the cuts where Harris is joined by the horns create a new paradigm that's solidly roots-minded but still wholly original. Instead of sounding like a self-conscious addition, the horns mesh with the guitar, sharing phrases and providing organic counterpoint.

Percussionist Harry "Point Man" M. Dennis, Jr. rounds out the sound nicely with his minimalist approach to timekeeping--he often sounds like he's just tapping along on a piece of metal or wood. Like any bluesman worth his salt, Harris has got religion too, as evidenced by intense readings of Mississippi Fred McDowell's "You Got to Move" and Son House's classic "Preaching Blues." The perfect mix of traditionalism and innovation, FISH AIN'T BITIN' is one of the finest acoustic blues albums of the '90s.
Charles Johnson- (Trombone), 
Anthony Lacen- (Tuba),
Chris Severin- (Bass),
Corey Harris- (Guitar, Vocals).
01. High Fever Blues 3:11
02. Frankie And Johnnie 2:54
03. Berry Owens Blues 2:49
04. Take Me Back 2:19
05. Fish Ain't Bitin' 3:28
06. Preaching Blues 4:57
07. Bumble Bee Blues 4:01
08. God Don't Ever Change 2:10
09. 50 Blues 4:52
10. Mama Got Worried 2:59
11. Worried Life Blues 2:59
12. High Fever Blues (solo) 4:06
13. Jack O'Diamonds 2:38
14. If You Leave Me 2:20
15. Moosemilk Blues 3:17
16. You've Got To Move 3:48
17. Clean Rag 2:21


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