Harmonica Frank Floyd

The Missing Link

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This posthumous album (Frank Floyd died in 1984) stands as a tribute to the kind of talent that simply can't exist any more. Floyd came up on the now-defunct medicine show circuit, and that concept of holding and entertaining an audience shaped his music (and his patter, as is obvious from this), then recorded for Sun in 1954 -- the same year as Elvis. In spite of his name, he was more than a harmonica player; he was also a superb guitarist and a credible singer who possessed what might be called an individual way with the English language (listen to "Shoop-a-Boop-Adoodler" if you need proof). On this set, recorded live in Memphis schools and in the studio in 1979, there's a mix of plenty of originals and blues chestnuts like "Deep Elum Blues" and Howlin' Wolf's "Sittin' on Top of the World," along with very regional standards like "It Ain't Gonna Rain No Mo." The meat here is definitely in his own music, however, with songs like "The Great Medical Menagerist" and "Married Man's Blues" that seem to completely encapsulate his winning personality. Thankfully there's this and a couple of other mementos of him.

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