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If you could pick just 1 album....

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Jan 25, 2009 2:33 PM GMT
If you could pick just one album to recommend to a beginning harp player what would it be?

I am really new to Blues and the harp (3 weeks) but so far my choice would be,

James Cotton - 100% Cotton

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Comments (52)

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Jan 25, 2009 3:03 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

An offer you can't refuse - Walter Horton and Paul Butterfield

Jan 25, 2009 3:05 PM GMT
Axident Replied:

Which Albums?

Jan 25, 2009 3:05 PM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

Two Sides to Every Story by James Harman. His solo on the song My Little Girl is a brilliant example of complex minimalism.

Jan 25, 2009 5:25 PM GMT
Oisin Replied:

Little Boy Blue (sometimes entitled "Live at the Knickbocker) By Big Walter and featuring Sugar Ray Norcia and his band. Two great harp players and some great guitar as well. It's probably not a classic album in a lot of peoples minds but I just love it.


Jan 25, 2009 5:35 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

An offer you can't refuse
That's the name of the album!

Jan 25, 2009 5:36 PM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Oisin i have that album it's great. You just can't beat Big Walter!

Jan 25, 2009 6:01 PM GMT
BlueMoose Replied:

"Hoodoo Man Blues" (or "Blues Hit Big Town") by Jr. Wells.
Solid playing where some tunes seem simple enough to play along with
at first, and a number of them are, but as the harp reveals it's
complexity so does Jr's playing.

Jan 25, 2009 7:17 PM GMT
Oisin Replied:

Hey Kingley...isn't it just a great album? I really like Sugar Ray's playing too especially on "I cry for you" and "Country Girl".
Jnr Wells does an excellent version of Country Girl also.

I have played Little Boy Blue to a lot of non-blues fan friends and they have all loved it.


Jan 25, 2009 9:05 PM GMT
Powersolo Replied:

I recommend an album you can't get. Blues Fools. I think they're like from Bulgaria or something. But the harp is simple and bossy!! you might find it on the internet. I got it from way back when.

Jan 25, 2009 9:12 PM GMT
Zack P Replied:

Blues Harmonica Classics:

Great album, Volume Two looks good, too.

Jan 26, 2009 12:13 AM GMT
Ray B Replied:

I recommend "The Essential Blues Harmonica" cd. It's a double album.

It's a compilation album ya can't go wrong with. I'm sure you can find info (track list/artist) on the net.

Jan 26, 2009 1:31 AM GMT
J.L. Frinks Replied:

There are so many, SonnyBoys 1&2,Junior Wells,I could name all the usual suspects.One of my favs is Ludella-Jimmie Rodgers w/Kim Wilson.
As a beginner I would suggest listening to all you can get access to.I have only been playing about 6 years and I am allways finding something new to listen at!

Jan 26, 2009 1:55 AM GMT
Elk River Replied:

Sonny Boy Williamson, the Real Folk Blues...

Jan 26, 2009 2:41 AM GMT
Doc M Replied:

"Blacktop Blues Harmonica Spotlight" is an excellent, approachable compilation. I believe that all the tunes can be played on a G,A,C,and D harp. "Fine Cuts" by Big Walter is similarly approachable, and features BW's masterful phrasing, tone, and style.

Jan 26, 2009 5:02 AM GMT
Randy S Replied:

Paul Butterfield The Electra years. Fur sure!

Jan 26, 2009 5:11 AM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

The Best of Muddy Waters--Little Walter on every cut!

Jan 28, 2009 10:58 PM GMT
Madcat Replied:

In 1966 I would have said HOODOOMAN BLUES by Jr. Wells.
I learned an incredible amount from listening to that record...

Jan 28, 2009 11:37 PM GMT
Train t Replied:

Hey Madcat, you are playing in my home town of Sturgis, MI. on Feb. 7.
Are you bringing your own sound man? I am contracted to do sound for this auditorium but usually for just our local shows. Who is Jimmy Dillon? How much of the show are you going to play?

Jan 29, 2009 4:48 AM GMT
Oldwailer Replied:

Wow--the people you meet here! Madcat! You inspired me to play harp a couple of years ago--I got your "Ins and Outs" DVD--then found Adam Gussow--anyway, thanks!

Jan 29, 2009 5:16 AM GMT
Civet Cat Replied:

100% cotton rocks for me!

Jan 29, 2009 10:25 AM GMT
Matt S. Replied:

Buddy Guy and Junior Wells- "Alone and Acoustic"
Most tracks can be played on an A harp

Jan 29, 2009 10:45 AM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Alone and Acoustic is a great album!

Jan 29, 2009 12:10 PM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets--Live at the Grand Emporium.

Jan 29, 2009 2:26 PM GMT
Kenny b Replied:

I'd pick Honkin on Bobo....
Aerosmith's remake of some classic blues with a twist only they can put on covers that make them their on original cut "the grind" is really cool.
Steven Tyler is awesome on the harmonica!

Jan 29, 2009 6:06 PM GMT
schaef Replied:

william clarke serious intentions

Jan 29, 2009 6:10 PM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

Pat Ramsey--It's About Time

Jan 30, 2009 1:08 AM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

junkyardmen--Keep on Workin' (with the incredible Billy Gibson on harp)

Kim Wilson--Tigerman (my favorite KW album)

Canned Heat--Uncanned (2-disc retrospective)

Jan 30, 2009 1:16 AM GMT
schaef Replied:

my sleeper pick kid ramos- greasy kids stuff.a whos who of harp

Jan 30, 2009 6:16 AM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Superb album the Kid Ramos one. Great choice Thomas!

Jan 30, 2009 10:51 AM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

Paul deLay--Nice & Strong

Jan 30, 2009 11:08 AM GMT
Kingley Replied:

Dennis Gruenling - Up all Night

Jan 30, 2009 9:26 PM GMT
Mfalcol Replied:

Boss Blues Harmonica - Walter is on every cut

Jan 30, 2009 9:36 PM GMT
Brutus Maximus Replied:

Mark Wenner with the Bel Airs--Mama Tried

Jan 31, 2009 4:06 AM GMT
Hammik Replied:

Blues Harp Boogie

It's a compilation that has all the greats on it plus some guys that you normally wouldn't hear much about.

Jan 31, 2009 9:58 PM GMT
Dan M Replied:

William Clarke Deluxe Edition pretty darn good. Tough question.


Feb 03, 2009 6:53 PM GMT
Will Vogtman Replied:

Rod Piazza Live at BB King's

Feb 04, 2009 4:58 PM GMT
Jaybird Replied:

William Clarke.... Tip Of The Top

Feb 04, 2009 10:51 PM GMT
Peter O Replied:

Sonny Boy Williamson (II)...His Best

Feb 05, 2009 12:47 AM GMT
The Iceman Replied:

Ludella - Jimmy Rogers (w/Kim Wilson)

Feb 05, 2009 1:18 PM GMT
Shawn R Replied:

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Little Walter "His Best" or "The Essential"

Aug 03, 2009 9:25 PM GMT
Mark $ Replied:

Butus, its about time by Pat is one of the most moving cds I've heard, to see him live was amazing. Check out live at the grand, he put it out in 97 I think, but its great as well. If you can't find it ill email you a copy. RIP Pat, look up pepper drive if you want to hear what his son klyde is up to.

Aug 03, 2009 9:29 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Barry Manilow's greatest hits.

Aug 04, 2009 3:32 AM GMT
BlowsMeAwy Greg Replied:

Rick Estrin's "On the Harp Side" - fairly new. A university class in multiple styles of harp. In my opinion Rick plays Sonny Boy better than Sonny Boy did.

Aug 04, 2009 4:51 AM GMT
Reed Triller Replied:

Anything SRV,Family style seems very harp friendly.....

Aug 04, 2009 4:51 AM GMT
Joe L Replied:

If the purpose is to have the person learn from the album, I would recommend The Best of Sonny Boy Williamson. It's hard to go wrong with Rice Miller. Like Junior Wells, his playing style is deceptively simple until you try to emulate it exactly.

One wouldn't go wrong with Hoodoo Man Blues by Junior Wells. There is a reason why this is Delmark Records' best seller 45 years after it was released. It's awesome!

Aug 04, 2009 6:32 AM GMT
Ricardo Replied:

'Alone and Acoustic' - Junior Wells and Buddy Guy

Aug 05, 2009 6:57 PM GMT
blogward Replied:

I'd suggest getting into into Big Walter before you get too far into Little Walter.

Aug 12, 2009 4:06 PM GMT
Chris C Replied:

The Best of Hooker 'N' Heat

As JLH says "I dig this kid's harmonica, I don't know how he follow me but do."

Shows what a good electric tone, some simple riffs, andreal listening can do.

Aug 13, 2009 5:00 AM GMT
J.K. T Replied:

Jimmy Hall Rendevous with the Blues. Jimmy lee Pocket Full of Blues

Aug 16, 2009 12:42 AM GMT
Brown Ale Guy Replied:

Anything by Jason Ricci. Paul Butterfield Live double album. Love Hooker N Heat.

"Get on Board" by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee.Folkways FA 2028 10 inch vinyl. 1951. Might actually be worth something.

Aug 16, 2009 2:37 AM GMT
BttBone Replied:

Harp Attack was the album I liked most when I first got interested in blues harmionica. It has some of the all time greats. Carey Bell, Billy Branch, James Cotton and Junior Wells.

Sep 06, 2009 11:46 AM GMT
David V Replied:

I think a beginner would benefit most from a compilation album, you would be exposed to more players styles and techniques. Rhino records Blues Masters series vol 4 or 16 (Harmonica classics and More Harmonica Clasics) would be a damn good place to start. That said my first cassette was Sonny Boy Williamsons' Real Folk Blues. I tried for months to play it all on a G harp.;)

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