(3 / 5)
What’s the all conquering, defining and biggest-selling sound of blues today? Why it would have to be Joe Bonamassa and his guitar-led blend of “Blues-rock” – derived from UK sixties and seventies classic blues-rock guitar Gods. However, guitar didn’t always reign supreme in the blues scene.
‘Once upon a time, in a corner of musical history of the distant past, the blues ‘harp’ was King. A cat from Chicago by the name of Little Walter started playing the tiny combination of tin and wood through a microphone and a guitar amplifier and created, for a few years at least, THE all popular defining sound of Chicago blues. Distorted, rhythmical, dynamic and cool.
But this was in the 50s… what’s been shaking with the humble “Gob Iron” since? Not much, is the answer, mainly because when blues hit the British and American white kids and they rapidly turned it into rock in the 60s and early 70s, no one had any idea how to play the thing to any great standard.
Walter had taken his secrets to the grave with him; with his untimely death at the age of 38 in 1967. With no new shining star, the harp was sidelined to a tiny, much diminished status.
The UK’s Will Wilde, with his new album “Bring It On Home”, a “passionate tribute to British and Irish Blues legends”, attempts to right this wrong. Wilde, his press release states, “touches the harp like Midas, transforming it from it’s bluesy niche into a full on rock power house”.
Whether or not this works is really going to be down to the blues-rock fans, and whether they buy into it in a big way or not. This is pure and simply an album of classic rock covers with harp leading the way instead of guitar.
Wilde’s version of Gary Moore’s “Parisian Walkways” being the litmus test. Blues-rock fans are either going to love it or be indifferent to it. Judging by the reaction on Youtube to the song’s video, happily, they seem to be loving it.
By Giles Robson
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’