Snooky Pryor and his Mississippi Wrecking Crew
The impetus behind this album is a musical celebration of the 80th birthday of one of the founding fathers of modern blues harmonica. Snooky Pryor has played a center stage role in the creation and development of blues music, his rich and varied career has walked hand in hand with the progression of the blues tradition, since that day in 1929 when he witnessed Rice Miller performing outside of a general store in Vance, Mississippi . Career highlights include his pioneering work in amplifying the harmonica on Maxwell Street during the mid 40’s. Recording "Telephone Blues" b/w "Snooky and Moody’s Boogie" regarded by many as the first Postwar Chicago blues record. Teaming up with Floyd and Moody Jones during the golden age of Chicago Blues in the late 40’s and early 50’s. His recording of "Someone to Love Me " and "Judgement Day" for the Vee-Jay label in 1956. Snooky’s rediscovery in 1970 and subsequent tours of Europe with Homesick James. Touring Canada and the U.S. in the early 70’s with Willie Dixon. Recording with Johnny Shines, and his frequent incendiary appearances at Atones in Austin, during the 1980’s.
Not one for dwelling on past musical triumphs, Snooky Pryor is a man equally proud of his ability as a master carpenter, or his knack of landing catfish with a bow and arrow, as he is of his prowess on the harmonica. So it’s only natural he saw this album for what it should be, an opportunity to get together with some close friends and lay down a sublime aggregation of hot and greasy blues tracks.
From my point of view, it was near paradise sitting quietly in that studio with Snooky cupping his harp in his hands, Mel Brown cradling his big Gibson archtop, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith sitting proud behind his kit, Bob Stroger swinging his bass on his hip, and Pinetop Perkins dancing his 88 year old fingers across the ivories. The wit, wisdom and collective mojo of those gentlemen transformed the blues into a living , breathing thing of immeasurable beauty. - Andrew Galloway
1. Rock-A-While - 5:01 2. School Days - 7:37 3. Electro-Fi Blues - 6:47 4. Decoration Day - 7:48 5. I Ain't Seen My Baby - 5:33 6. Pinetop's Ginder Man Blues - 6:18 7. Kind Lover - 6:20 8. Sugar Mama Blues - 4:01 9. Corinna - 4:30 10. After You (There Won't Be Nobody Else) - 6:11
Snooky Pryor (vocals, harmonica) , Pinetop Perkins (piano, vocal on 6) , Mel Brown (guitar) , Bob Stroeger (bass) , Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (drums) , Jeff Healey (guitar on 2, 3 & 5)
1. BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE - – Tom Townsley
This disc is a celebration of Snooky Pryor’s 80th birthday – and what a celebration it is .Pryor was one of the very first to play amplified harmonica and his seminal recordings with Moody Jones are widely held to be the first examples of Modern Chicago Blues on wax, preceding Muddy Waters debut by several years. Now here we are in the 21st century, and Pryor has outlasted almost everybody from his musical generation – “almost” because he’s accompanied on this album by Pinetop Perkins, nine years his senior. The rest of the veteran crew consists of Willie “ Big Eyes” Smith on drums, Bob Stroger on bass, Mel Brown on guitar; Jeff Healey makes a guest appearance on three tracks.
Six of the ten songs are Pryor originals, the others are covers of songs by Rice Miller, John Lee Williamson, and Memphis Slim. Most are shuffles and slow blues – familiar grooves to be sure, but these are the guys who helped invent them. Pryor can still raise a ruckus on harp, he’s also in fine voice, whooping and shouting and fearlessly striking notes at the top of his range. Perkins attacks the ivories with assurance, and the rhythm section locks tighter than Siamese twins. Brown and Healey contribute tasty, restrained guitar.
Pryor and his crew are still making Blues like it used to be, and they are having a ball doing it. Given that the combined ages of the performers exceeds that of the United States, there’s a lot of history in this recording. Happily for us, it’s history still in the making.
2. BLUES BEAT MAGAZINE – Rich Schneider
The Crew delivers with a sensational set of Chicago Blues authentically performed by it’s living masters. They’re the real deal and it shows. Let’s enjoy these guys while we can. It doesn’t get any better than this.
3. ROOTS MUSIC REPORT
This is the Blues ten times over! Snooky and the Crew put it all together on this album. The masters of the Blues give it their all. Snooky huffing on the harp and letting loose on the vocals with Pinetop Perkins really working the ivories. This CD was produced by Andrew Galloway like Roots Blues should be produced. Galloway lets the group show their stuff. At over 80 years of age, ain’t nobody going to doubt that Snooky Pryor knows the Blues and that this is how it should be done. A great record!
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