Just Wailing | Album Review

justwailingcdVarious Artists- Just Wailing – 50 Masterpieces By 26 Blues Harmonica Heroes

Fantastic Voyage


2 CDs/25 tracks each

This compilation is a Who’s Who of classic blues harp.  Featuring Billy Boy Arnold, Doctor Ross, Forrest City Joe, George Smith, Hot Shot Love, Howlin’ Wolf, James Cotton, Jerry McCain, Jimmy Reed, Joe Hill Louis, Junior Wells, Lazy Lester, Little Walter, Louis Myers, Papa Lightfoot, Pee Wee Hughes, Pete “Guitar” Lewis, Robert Richard, Sammy Lewis and Willie Johnson, Sammy Myers, Slim Harpo, Snooky Pryor, Sonny Boy Williamson, Sonny Terry, Walter Horton, and Walter Mitchell along with a host of bands and other greats they played with are featured here on 50 tracks.

Like this set, their piano and 2 guitar companion compilations Midnight Steppers, Screaming and Crying and Deep Feeling that were also put together by Neil Slaven are superb compilation sets of classic blues that the seasoned aficionado or newbie listener can appreciate. 26 harp heroes are featured; this is one helluva set!  The other sets are 3 CDs while this one is a “mere” 2 CD set, but all are exceptional.

Where does one start?  Well, let’s start with Fantastic Voyage.  They are a compilation label in the UK who compile rock n roll, rockabilly, blues, country, R&B, jazz, soul, pop, beat & soundtracks in affordable and well thought out sets of music.  But have no fear, their stuff appears on Amazon.com and other US locations so you can pick them up domestically.

Neil Slaven is a music historian and free lance writer who has written countless liner notes, a great book on Frank Zappa, collaborated on The Penguin Guide to the Blues and so much more.  He’s produced a lot of music and is one of England’s most respected blues authorities.

One can trace the legacy of early amplified blues harp through the hey day of the electrified harp sound.  From the Delta to Chicago, all the greats are featured here.  Starting with Sonny Boy Williamson I (John Lee Williamson), one can hear the masters who built on him and his idea. Little Walter, Snooky Prior and all the other greats are unique and offer a plethora of sounds and styles to appreciate here.  Highly recommended!

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