Good Luck Man
This is the second solo CD on Alligator for this Chicago bluesman, and it shows him in fine form. Harp and vocals are his specialty, and he lays them down amongst fourteen pretty, straight ahead, but sometimes funky tunes. Bell’s harp is fatter and less striving than most, almost playing more rhythm than lead and tooting rather than wailing. Even when he goes up high, it’s sort of a chirping sound rather than a greasy scream… I kind of like it better that way. His vocals are a pure, fertile blues mud.
The sidemen here include Bell’s Stratman, Steve Jacobs, whose unique style relies entirely upon a breathless, knifing attack of perfectly bent notes rather than on any speed or slickness. When it turns funky, Albert Collins’ old bassist and Luther Allison’s show up, along with former Eddie Clearwater sideman Will Crosby on ultra-tight rhythm guitar. For myself, I wish they had let Will play some lead; I know he can put out a staccato series of understated, shapely licks. If you like good blues harp, you won’t go wrong here.