"Superharps" is almost an understatement when you're talking about James Cotton, Billy Branch, Charlie Musselwhite and Sugar Ray Norcia. The presence of such revered masters on this 11-track recording provides a world of insight into what blues harp has been up to since the 1950s.
One of the last surviving links to the glory days of Chicago blues, Cotton still commands a huge following. From his childhood apprenticeship with harp ace Sonny Boy Williamson to the freewheeling gigs he played with Howlin' Wolf, Cotton's importance to harp players and the blues continues to grow.
Chicago blues great Branch's harmonica playing is known for its added jazz and R&B touches. Deeply committed to shaping the future, Branch started a "Blues in the Schools" program for children in Chicago. Charlie Musselwhite made his mark leading bands in Chicago and San Francisco. And fresh from a five-year stint with Roomful of Blues, Norcia is as respected for his vocal proficiency as he is for his harmonica mastery.
Highlights include Tommy Dorsey and Deanne Kincaid's "T.D.'s Boogie Woogie," Musselwhite's "Blues, Why Do You Worry Me?" and the ending track "Harp to Harp," which finds all four harp blowers joining together for the 11 minute and 37 second jam.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.