Forty-something Zac Harmon hails from Jackson, Mississippi, and has been
pursuing a musical career for over 20 years. As well as serving time
playing guitar for people like ZZ Hill and Sam Myers, he has also written
songs for Freddie Jackson, Alexander O'Neal and the O'Jays among others.
"Live At Babe & Ricky's Inn" finally realizes Harmon's dream of recording
his first blues project.
Things slot right into place for the rocking groove of the opening
instrumental "Yazoo City." Like all the tracks here it is a Harmon
original, and like all the tracks here it is very good. It is the perfect
way to open the show, with all the crowd clapping along. Harmon shows
himself to a be a very capable guitarist, keeping things nicely
understated, and sax man Andre Delano also does a fine job. The band keep
the groove going on the ensuing "Forty Days" where Harmon shows that he
also possesses a warm soulful voice.
The pace slacks off a little for "Stormin' In Mississippi," before the band
really take it down low and slow for "Full Figured Woman." Judging by the
outbreak of applause during the introduction, it is something of a crowd
favorite. Harmon upholds a grand old blues tradition as he describes his
wish for a woman that is built for comfort, not for speed.
After a mellow take of "The Blues In You" and the steady rolling "I Got
News For You," comes something a little different. "Alberta" has a strong
zydeco flavor to it, with the accordion sound presumably coming from
Christopher Troy's keyboards. It is a nice change that maintains the
album's party atmosphere, before the band slow things down once more for
the last of the live tracks, "Smile" where Dennis Jones gets to take a
Somewhat strangely the live recording ends without any warning (no last
number, no encore). The last two tracks are studio versions of "Forty Days"
and "Stormin' In Mississippi." Whilst both of the renditions are very good,
and sound a bit more polished than the live versions, it would have been
nice to hear some more of Harmon's songs.
It may have taken Zac Harmon a long time to release his debut album, but
"Live At Babe & Ricky's Inn" shows that it has been worth the wait. If you
are looking for a good time blues party, then, on the basis of "Live At
Babe & Ricky's Inn," Zac Harmon definitely fits the bill. On the basis of
this album, it would appear that Harmon's future is bright.
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