Various Artists

Down Home Harp

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A companion volume to Testament's Down Home Slide compilation, this brings together 21 previously unreleased tracks from that label's vaults and a reprise of "Billy Boy's Jump" by Billy Boy Arnold from the original album Goin' to Chicago. There's a real nice blend of styles, and even with big guns aboard like Big Walter Horton and Little Walter playing with Johnny Young and Robert Nighthawk, this is no mere amplified Chicago honkfest. The country side of things are represented in a right primitive way by Willie Lee Harris and Coot Vinson with Doctor Ross, Driftin' Slim and James "Bat" Robinson holding up the one-man band side of the equation. And a can't-miss highlight is the harmonica Slim Willis Quartet taking the pop standard "Canadian Sunset" for a lowdown blues ride. Selections from Big John Wrencher, George Robertson, John Lee Henley and Andrew Cauthen round out this superlative little collection. Not just another harmonica compilation, there are great performances in enough divergent styles to make this a wonderful harmonica introductory primer disc for anyone who wants to investigate both city and country styles.

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