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New CD Features <i>Harp and Soul</i> - 2001-12-10


"Sonny Boy" Williamson, Frank Frost and Louis Myers are just a few legends of the blues harmonica featured on a new CD called Harp And Soul. Most of the tracks were recorded in the 1950s, when electric blues was at its peak in Chicago.

The 1950s were great for music - Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and one of Chicago's most underrated blues players Louis Myers. Louis Myers arrived in Chicago from Mississippi in the early 1950s. He landed a spot in one of the city's top combos, "The Aces", led by harmonica great Junior Wells. When Wells left to play with Muddy Waters, Myers took over. The Aces' single "Just Whaling" features Louis' brother David on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass and Eugene Lounge on drums.

Singer and harmonica player "Sonny Boy" Williamson, also known as Rice Miller, gained fame on his King Biscuit Time radio show in Helena, Arkansas. He recorded for a label in Mississippi before securing a deal with Checker Records in Chicago. In 1958, he recorded "Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket" with Willie Dixon and pianist Harold Burrage. Over the years, "Sonny Boy's" influence filtered down to younger, up-and coming harpists, including Arkansas native Frank Frost.

Frank Frost played harmonica, guitar and keyboards in "Sonny Boy" Williamson's band in the 1950s. As a leader, he had several rhythm and blues hits, including "Harp And Soul" which features a harmonica duet with Arthur "Oscar Lee" Williams. It was recorded in Nashville on the Jewel label in 1966.

The most recent cut on the album is "What's Wrong, What's Wrong?" by Texas blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh with Mississippi harmonica veteran Sam Myers and The Rockets from their 1990 album My Love Is Here To Stay.

Also featured on "Harp And Soul" are harpists Snooky Pryor, Jimmy Reed, Walter "Shakey" Horton, George "Wild Child" Butler, Jerry McCain, "Little" Willie Foster, Johnny Shines and famed blues duo Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Terry plays harmonica and McGhee plays guitar on the 1960 classic, "Blowing the Fuses."