Corey Harris

Fish Ain't Bitin'

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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.

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