21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2003
Rhino's "Blues Masters" series is the best of its kind, and while this one disc obviously only scratches the surface of blues harmonica playing, it does feature a lot of good music.
Most longtime blues fans will own the lion's share of this material already, but "Harmonica Classics" also features several lesser-known songs like Jerry McCain's "Steady", Lazy Lester's superbly groovy "Sugar Coated Love", "Boogie Twist" by Snooky Pryor, and "Easy" by the greatest blues harmonica player of them all, the great Walter Horton (that's the song credited to "Jimmy and Walter").
Howlin' Wolf is here as well, Billy Boy Arnold is here, Little Walter Jacobs is here with his instrumental classic "Juke", and Jimmy Reed is here, doing the loping "Ends And Odds" in his lazy, minimalistic style. Other highlights include Junior Wells' tough "Messin' With The Kid" and Sonny Boy Williamson (II)'s "Help Me".
These songs don't necessarily rank among the artists' very best, since they were chosen primarily for the harp playing, and that may be seen as a little bit of a drawback. But that's not to say that the songs are generally below par, and this collection does focus on blues harmonica after all.
And there is some impressive instrumental prowess on display here, including the Fabulous Thunderbirds' lyrical "Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White", "Last Night" by George "Harmonica" Smith, and the one-armed John Wrencher's rendition "Take A Little Walk With Me".
As I said, this is not excactly the defintive word on blues harmonica, or on the artists represented here, but "Harmonica Classics" and its companion volume (excitingly titled "More Harmonica Classics") are still a fine purchase for casual and "mid-level" blues listeners.
Lots of great music here.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2004
Wow! A friend recommended this CD to me (as I am beginning to play), and what a treat this was. Terrific variety in style, and superb playing all around. Especially helpful were the extensive liner notes to the CD, listing each artist and going into their background as well as details about the songs. Really enjoyable reading. I just can't say enough about it if you are looking for a good sampling of harp songs. :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
This was another Blues Masters CD that I have bought, for the most part, if you like blues, you will enjoy this CD.