The harmonica amazes me. Such a simple little instrument yet in the hands of a master it’s one of the most expressive of all musical instruments. One of those masters Carey Bell was born on this day in 1936! For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to know Carey here’s some background from Wikipedia:
Carey Bell (November 14, 1936 – May 6, 2007) was an American blues musician, who played the harmonica in the Chicago blues style. Born Carey Bell Harrington in the blues-fertile state of Mississippi, Bell played harmonica (harp) and bass for other blues musicians during the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s before embarking on a solo career. Besides his own albums, he recorded as an accompanist or duo artist with Earl Hooker, Robert Nighthawk, Lowell Fulson, Eddie Taylor, Louisiana Red, Jimmy Dawkins as well as a frequent partner with his son, guitarist Lurrie Bell. Blues Revue called Bell “one of Chicago’s finest harpists.” The Chicago Tribune said Bell is “a terrific talent in the tradition of Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter.” Continue Reading
While AllMusic tells us that:
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).
In 1969, Bell made his debut album (on harp) for Delmark, and he was on his way….. When I was reviewing Carey’s discography at AllMusic I saw that the highest rated of Carey’s albums is his 1995 release Deep Down So I went over to MOG and gave it a listen and it is a good one. Here’s some of what the review of the album at AllMusic says…..
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” Read More
So Happy Birthday Carey Bell – I can just imagine your party with all those blues harp a blaring!!! Sonny Boy, Sonny Terry, Little Walter….what a ash!! Here’s Carey with “Let Me Stir in Your Pot”