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The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"
The Blues According to Zacariah
(Bluestone Records No cat #)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by Gordon Baxter
Zac Harmon moved to LA in 1980 to pursue a career in music, but "The Blues According to Zacariah" is his debut studio album. It follows on from Harmon's best unsigned blues band award in the Blues Foundation's 2004 International Blues Challenge, with his band the Mid South Blues Revue.
The album opens with "That Mighty High", a huge slice of testifying funky gospel. Most of the rest of the album is much straighter blues, albeit with a soulful edge. There are hints of Albert King ("Sugarman"), and Elmore James ("Who's Knockin'"), but Harmon's talents as a singer, songwriter and guitarist invariably shine through. The choice of two of the covers ("Mannish Boy" and "It Hurts Me Too") is rather conservative, but the other, a version of Eddie Cotton's "It's Cool With Me", is more adventurous, and features a particularly fine guitar intro. It is followed by Harmon's own "That's Why". This slower number, which features a horn section, is probably the pick of the tracks--you could easily imagine a Bobby Bland singing this one.
In addition to the support of his usual band, Harmon uses several guest musicians. Perhaps the most notable is Gregg Wright, who lays down the Ernie Isley style intro to "Comfort of a Man", before "A Hole in My Heart" rounds things off... apart from the very churchy unlisted instrumental, "Glory (Reprise)", which just features organ and guitar and provides a nicely relaxed ending to what is a very good album.
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