Harmonica Shah And Howard Glazer – Ain’t Gonna Worry About Tomorrow
Electro-Fi Records – 2020
13 tracks; 65 minutes
This Detroit blues duo recorded a 2003 set for Electro-Fi, Tell It To Your Landlord. Since then they have toured together as well as pursuing their separate careers; Howard Glazer has been heard on recent releases by Eliza Neals and both men have released their own albums. This disc, however, reunites them in an authentic blues setting and although Howard can play the sort of rock-blues that one associates with Eliza Neals, here his more restrained blues style suits Shah’s harp sound. There are ten originals penned by Shah and three covers. They do play as a duo on some tracks but there is a band on most: Skeeto Davis on drums, Steve Glazer on bass (with Ben Moore depping on one track), Mike Blaskiewicz on guitar, Howard on lead guitar and Shah on harp and vocals.
Shah sounds like he plays harp without using a harp mike, giving a clean sound that takes us back to country blues. He also writes some sharp-witted songs, like opener “Reality Blues” in which he realizes that he is far too old for the girl, the band playing a classic Chicago blues riff; indeed, Shah’s vocals have a touch of Muddy’s style to them. Sometimes Shah is willing to try anything to salvage a relationship, even claiming that “(I Just Wanna Be) Your Floormat”! He can also admit that he can be a bad sort, as in “Dirty Bastard Blues”: “I sleep all day, rob and steal all night, everything I tell you, sugar, you know it ain’t right, ‘cos I’m a two-faced, dirty old bastard, everything I do is dirty and no good”. Shah tries to persuade a girl to stick around and have some fun with him, which will be fine, he says, until “When My Wife Comes Home” after a weekend away, one of the duo tracks on the album. Perhaps Shah’s problems stem from the age-old problem of alcohol, as in “My Bottle Is My Bank Account”?
In “Pretty Girl, Pretty Girl” Shah seems to have met his match as a younger girl has taken him for a ride, now leaving him for a younger model. Played over a moody riff, this one is a duo performance which sounds pretty ominous! “Please Respect Me” is a classic slow blues with the full band and, again, Shah’s girl is going with a younger man behind his back. “First Train South” is an instrumental that gives Shah full rein to show off his train sounds on the harp and the CD closes with the title track, another slow blues. Several tracks run to over six minutes, giving the musicians space to stretch out in fine style.
The three covers are familiar classics but re-imagined for this particular album. Fenton Robinson’s “Somebody Loan Me A Dime” is usually played in a soul-blues style but Shah and Howard convert it into a slow blues that is virtually unrecognizable; Paul Marshall’s “So Many Roads” will be known to everyone from versions by Otis Rush (or maybe Joe Bonamassa, for younger readers!) and is further slowed down from those versions, whereas Howling Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking?” is actually sped up a little! All three are attractive covers and successfully complete this solid album.