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Crooked Smile

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, 26 Nov 2012
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Product details

  • Audio CD (26 Nov. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Highway Records
  • ASIN: B00A2P506M
  • Other Editions: Audio CD |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,140 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Product description

Product Description

12 original and highly individual songs in which elements of blues and folk combine to produce something brand new. Songs to make you move, make you think and make you smile. The music has a very distinctive style and sound, with Mark's National and 12-string guitars accompanied by the extraordinary talents of Charles Benfield (double bass/organ), Will Greener (harmonica), Ryan Carr(mandolin), Ed Hopwood (drums/percussion), Ben Walker (mandolin/electric guitar) and Josienne Clarke (vocals). Mark Harrison's songs cover all manner of non-standard themes. Topics here include the lives of people real and imagined, including one drawn from the life of David Honeyboy Edwards, the last of the original Mississippi Delta blues artists. There is the mystery surrounding Georgia Greene, the private life of Smiler John, the tangled love life of The Original Dawg and observations of the Mexican gardeners in California. Bombs Coming Down looks at the impact and aftermath of World War 11 in Britain, The Demon Drink takes an unpredictable view of booze and a common theme is life and how it can be survived without a permanent long face, as in Pearly Gates, Crematorium Blues, Lay Your Burden Down, Blessed and Reckless.

About the Artist

THE STORY I ve been playing for ages and not very long. A few years ago, I started listening to music again, after a lengthy layoff, and then I started playing again. It was all about the Blues, in the loosest sense of the term. It was pretty much the only kind of music that had stood the test of time. I assembled something of a collection of the greats, from Charley Patton to Muddy via Blind Willie McTell and the first Sonny Boy Williamson. I read a lot of books about their world and their music. It all spoke to me in mysterious ways. I decided to buy a resonator. While trying out new ones in a London shop, I was directed to a recent arrival. The way you play, you ll like this one, I was told. It was still in its case. It was a 1934 National Trojan, a wood-body resonator. It s got a sweet sound but it ll bite if you want it to, the man said. He was right. Eric Bibb had just brought it in. Fate. Of living blues artists, he was the one I d most cottoned on to. Naturally, I bought the guitar. I kicked off trying to play some of the songs I liked by the greats. But they always turned out sounding totally different. I had no real idea what those guys were doing. I d never had a lesson, knew nothing about tabs and video tutorials. I just played what came into my head and fingers. Pretty soon I realised I was writing new songs, not doing versions of old ones. I started going out and playing the songs around London. It all seemed to go down very well, both with audiences and other musicians. I was encouraged. I built up a repertoire of songs and I was up and running. Then I recorded my first album, WATCHING THE PARADE. I asked some of the fine musicians I d played regularly with to play on it. One of them, bass player and all-round musician Charles Benfield ran the whole thing, produced it, mixed it, mastered it. I started to do gigs all over London, in all sorts of fine and well-regarded venues some solo, many with Charles Benfield (double bass), Ryan Carr (mandolin) and Will Greener (harmonica), in various combinations. With that fine bunch of musicians, I did a couple of hundred gigs over the following couple of years, and sometimes we were joined by Ed Hopwood on drums. In 2012, we went into the excellent Livingston Studios and recorded the second album, CROOKED SMILE. At this time, there were two welcome additions to the band, Josienne Clarke (vocals) and Ben Walker (mandolin/electric guitar). THE SONGS The music is rooted in the blues, but it s not stuck in the past. I m tapping into the timeless quality of the early blues to produce music totally relevant to the present day. I m trying to do something fresh and different. I m picking the guitar, using the strong rhythms and feel of the originators, and putting hopefully memorable tunes on top. People say they re catchy. The songs are about a variety of things I figure the area of male/female shenanigans has been pretty well-covered already, and I m interested in all sorts of other things. I ve got songs on subjects that people don't generally write songs about. There are songs about how people live, what they think, how we re run, what s going on. I ve got protest songs, story songs, gospel songs, songs of celebration, songs with a a shrug, light songs, dark songs. Some of them pick up on parallels between the world of the early blues greats and the here and now, images of the past applied to the present. And some of them are just about the here and now there s a lot to be said that isn t necessarily getting said. So that s what I m doing. It s got a foot in the past, but it s all brand new.

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24 April 2013
Format: Audio CD|Verified Purchase

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