Harmonica Shah Blues Band
Tell It To Your Landlord
Electro-Fi (2003) 3377
12 tracks, 67 minutes.
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: July 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Just ask the Motor City's Harmonica Shah how he likes his blues and he'll tell you
plain and simple that his preference is down and dirty, he doesn't like it clean. With blues
having become more acceptable and palatable over time, we're generally left with an
over-produced, multi-tracked, watered down, antiseptic outcome, thus lacking any of the
real feeling it might have had to begin with. Fear not... Harmonica Shah stands as a
beacon in an otherwise dark sky. Recorded at Bleed Thru Studios in Dearborn, Michigan,
Tell It To Your Landlord is as raw and nasty as it comes and follows suit with
the artist's previous work. The leadoff track, Slow And Easy is a romping uptown
shuffle with an abundance of grease that propels the groove and enough grit to set the
stage for what's coming. Shah's harp and vocals are in the alley here and throughout the
rest of the set, but particularly strong on Welfare Shoes Blues, I Heard You Was At The
Casino, and Crying Michigan Tears while the title track is a funked-up
instrumental slammer with exceptional blowing. Howard Glazer's guitar work is solid from
start to finish and he keeps it on track by avoiding the pitfalls of less experienced players,
and a special nod is due for his work in not actually doing what we've come to expect
from a "record producer." If you prefer your blues with any production values at all, you'd do
well to steer clear of this, but if you like it lowdown, stumbling, and dragging in the gutter,
this will become a gem in your collection. Harmonica Shah might not win any
awards as instrumentalist or vocalist of the year, but his decision to keep it crude and rude
makes more sense than most will realize. The standout is the closer, Someday with its
on-target lyrics, devil-may-care approach, and crackling simplicity. www.electrofi.com for
more information on this and other fine releases or www.harmonicashah.com.
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