Album Review for BIG HARP GEORGE – Uptown Cool

Released on Blues Mountain Records

This is my first experience of Big Harp George even though this is his third album and I have to say I’m extremely impressed.

The album is interesting, well written and George has surrounded himself with musicians of the highest quality including the likes of seasoned performers like Chris Burns, Kid Andersen and Little Charlie Baty, Burns deserves special mention too for the high-class production.

For the harp enthusiasts, George excels on the chromatic harmonica rather than the more popular diatonic although here he uses both, producing a wonderful tone on either.

The whole album finds its own unhurried pace, everyone involved adding to the sculptured tones and musical landscapes.

There is wonderful brass (sax and trombone mostly) percolating through every track blending perfectly with Georges harp and his clear story-tellers vocals.

The songwriting is strong too, at times a little tongue in cheek as when he tackles modern-day themes like Internet Honey and Alternative Facts.

I Wanna Know is a Latin flavoured gem about trying to gauge the right timings to move a relationship forward, hard as it is to believe anyone on this record has ever experienced timing issues.

In The First Place is slightly more uptempo and swinging, and Standing In The Weather a bit tougher edged.

I think maybe my personal favourite is Cold Snap By The Bay, a beautiful slow blues with wonderful piano playing throughout provided by Chris Burns.

Closing track God Make Me Chaste, with the ‘but not yet’ refrain is a lovely slab of New Orleans styling that stays in your head long after the track has finished.

This won’t appeal to fans of overdriven guitar blues rock but this has a timeless late night blues appeal and a quality running through that is hard to replicate.

I’m certainly going to be returning to this and checking out the Big Harp George back catalogue.

 

Album Review by STEVE YOURGLIVCH

More Info at BIG HARP GEORGE