Living Blues (1-2/99, p.76) - "...popular enough to score an occasional crossover success....serves as a jolting reminder of how much could be accomplished in a two-minute song with a four-bar instrumental track....essential for anyone who doesn't already have them."
Recorded between 1957 and 1964.
Contains 18 tracks.
Includes liner notes by Cub Koda.
This is the first long-player by one of the best loved and most commercially successful of all blues artists. Excello Records had only just begun to make LPs when they released SLIM HARPO SINGS RAINING IN MY HEART, a collection of the singer/harmonica player's singles, many of which had already charted by the time of the album's release in 1961. The smash hit "I'm a King Bee" is here, for instance. With its dark, echo-drenched groove, the song is a textbook example of the Southern "swamp blues" sound (and was subsequently covered by hundreds of artists, most notably the Rolling Stones on their first album).
Harpo's distinctive, nasal voice is a large part of his appeal, and his singing style draws equally from country & Western, rock & roll, and traditional blues vocalists. Likewise, the music cuts across genre boundaries, incorporating rock rhythms, rural twang, and even a dash of proto-psychedelia in the sometimes effects-heavy production. Though hits like the slinky, balladic "Rainin' in My Heart" and the rhumba-inflected "I Got Love If You Want It," are highlights, the rest of the set does not disappoint, and the reissue includes three bonus tracks recorded between 1959 and 1967. Any way you slice it, this dose of Southern electric blues is a classic.