Erin Harpe and The Delta Swingers
Vizztone Label Group/Juicy Juju Records
Erin Harpe hails from Boston. Her first band “Lovewhip” released five electro-pop albums. Harpe began her transition to the Blues and released “Blues Roots” in 2002. “Delta Blues Duets”, recorded with her father Neil Harpe, followed in 2008.
Erin Harpe and The Delta Swingers were formed in 2010. They won the Boston Blues Challenge twice to compete in the International Blues Challenge held annually in Memphis. In 2014 the band released their debut recording “Love Whip Blues”. This is their second album.
The current band lineup includes Harpe, acoustic, electric and slide guitars, percussion, washboard and vocals; Jim Countryman, bass; Kendall Divoll, drums and percussion; and Matt “Charles” Prozialeck, harmonicas. Harpe has authored four new songs and covers six more re-arranged for the band.
Harpe opens with her slide guitar on Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Kokomo” a.k.a. “Kokomo Blues” originally recorded by him in 1962. The band’s swinging beat sets up Harpe’s vocal and her tremolo gives the song a special sensuality.
“Lonely Leavin’ Town” is the first of Harpe’s originals. This one features her finger picking the guitar. “I love you baby, tell the world I do”. “Charles” takes a nice harp solo.
“Big Road Blues” is the Tommy Johnson classic that was a 1928 10” 78 RPM single on RCA Records.
“Frankie” is the lead track off of Mississippi John Hurt’s 1928 Okeh Records recordings. Harpe’s finger picking is infectious. Once again “Charles” sounds great on harp.
“Shake Your Hips” is the Slim Harpo tune first recorded by him in 1965. It is still a blues radio favorite. If you’ve ever seen Harpe live you know this will be a great performance piece for her. Michael Casavant sits in on organ. Harpe also plays washboard.
“Casey Jones” is another tune from Mississippi John Hurt. It was recorded after his rediscovery and appeared on his 1963 “Avalon Blues” album.
“Voodoo Blues” and “Stop and Listen” are two more originals from Harpe. On the former Casavant plays accordion. “Charles” plays harp on both of these.
“Guilty” is from Randy Newman originally recorded in 1974 on his “Good Old Boys” album on Reprise Records.
The closer is “Gimme That Something Special” a song first performed by Harpe’s old band “Lovewhip” and re-arranged by her for The Delta Swingers.
Harpe is delightful. She creates a happy vibe reminiscent of Hot Tuna. This highly entertaining album is recommended for those discerning listeners looking for a really good time.
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