Album Reviews

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SUGAR BLUE

Threshold

2011-09-21

Grammy Award winning Sugar Blue (born James Whiting) has created another album full of blues harp virtuosity in Threshold. Blue has contributed to, or collaborated with, Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, the Stones—the list is endless. Sugar Blue has said that he incorporates their subtleties, complexities, power and passion into his instrument which has made his blues harp sound like no other. “Living Your Love” starts slow but develops into a cool vibe with an underlying guitar hook and expressive harmonica. “Noel News” is an ode to the spirit of New Orleans with a zydeco feel and sousaphone at the end. Track 4 is an interesting viewpoint; “Stop the War” has powerful lyrics with snippets of political sound bite overdub. “Ramblin” is a deep, soulful harmonica solo prelude to “Cotton Tree,” paying homage to the legendary James Cotton, another mentor. “Messin’ With The Kid” is a Junior Wells cover that has been rearranged with solid rock beat and flow. “Trouble” is an Elvis Presley tune but the Sugar treatment shows it doesn’t get any sweeter than this! How odd that tracks 1-3-5-7-9-11 showcase Blue’s phenomenal talent for harmonica! These are highly recommended. – Pam VandeKerkhoff

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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