on 1 March 2004
An excellent album, inspired by Harris' work on Martin Scorsese's recent documentary on the history of the Blues, which Harris contributed to. Corey Harris explores the musical link between the 2 continents, and gets to the very heart of what blues is all about. Recored in Mississippi and Mali, he uses local session musicians who help him capture the essence of the modern blues sound. Harris is truly a master of blues music, and he is a fine guitarist, songwriter and vocalist to boot! Very Highly Recommended
on 9 June 2005
Companion piece to the Scorcese documentary, this is an enjoyable mixed bag of an album. If you haven't seen the film, expect: (1) some straight rootsy unplugged blues (track 2 is a funky highlight); (2) field recording collaborations with Malian musicians including Ali Farke Toure, which explore the link between Afro and Afro-American blues. I needed to wait a little longer to get in to the vibe of these tracks - but it is there; (3) a bit of Fife (Phife?) and Drum music - i.e. bass drum and a sort of pennywhistle which is a rambuctious treat; and (4) the brilliant track 13 "Charlene". This is sung in French and is acoustic guitar with occasional congas. Don't know what the musical heritage of this track is but for me for some reason it evokes balmy nights in the carribean - marvellous!