Mississippi bluesman James Isaac Moore made the bulk of his recordings at JD Miller's Crowley, Louisiana studio, accounting for the deep, swampy sound and creeping rhythms of his hit singles. Another important influence on the Stones, Harpo's debut 1957 single "I'm A King Bee's" compulsive, chicken-scratch guitar motif became an essential part of their early sound. Although Ace have released a comprehensive series covering Slim's years with the Excello label, this Best Of draws together all the classic singles: "Baby Scratch My Back", "I Got Love If You Want It", "Rainin' In My Heart" (Louisiana pop of the highest order) and "Shake Your Hips" (rolling along with train-chugging intensity, rattling-sticks providing its percussion track). By 1967, he was recording in Nashville, producing even more light-footed material like "Te-Ni-Nee- Ni-Nu" and "Tip On In" ("let me see those fishnet hose", he drawls.). Harpo had it all: a bittersweet soul moan of a voice, a squealing, wounded-hound harmonica sound and a feel for mixing genres that found him picking from country, rock 'n' roll and soul, perfectly placed to be one of the funkiest, most danceable blues performers so far in the music's history. Who knows how much more he would have contributed if not for his sudden early death from a heart attack in 1970. --Martin Longley
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