Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CD REVIEW “Spanish Blues Harp Attack” by Karla Darocas for CBBlues.com

This 11 track CD was recorded and produced in 2007 featuring Spain’s harmonica greats who are Danny Boy Sánchez from Valencia together with Castilian Ñaco Goñi and the Sevillian Mingo Balaguer. This CD was produced by the Basque record label - Gaztelupeko Hotsak.

Unless you are a Spanish Blues Aficionado, you will be hard pressed to pick out the different solos by these undisputed kings of their craft. However, once you give the CD a regular rotation you will start to hear the differences.

Danny Boy, who we here at CBBlues have come to know and love as a special guest at our events, has a smooth, rounded performance every time. His solos are like butter and his voice matches his playing. For example, the opening track “Drifting and Drifting” made famous by Charles Brown.  The clarity and composure of Danny Boy’s voice enhances the lyrics, and that is what you want when playing slow walking blues!!

You can get a full fix of Danny Boy’s performance on track 3 “Early in the Morning” where he is suave and should I say “sexy” on vocals and harp.

Track 4 features Mingo Balaguer “Garbage Man” (McKinley Morganfield or Muddy Waters to all of us blues geeks) on vocals and harp. Mingo’s voice at first reminded me of Stevie Ray Vaughan but with a hint of southern Spanish accent. He sure can deliver a note on the harp; soft when needed and full on to stress levels. I really enjoyed this track and the Chicago blues scene would be impressed. I hope they listen to Spanish blues?

Ñaco Goñi on the other hand has a “down-home” edge to his harp playing and voice. It is a style that reminds me of Lazy Lester but that is just me. Track 5 on the CD is called “Borracho” – the "drunk" in English – and it is all Ñaco Goñi. He sings his original composition all in Spanish.

Favourite tracks include – “Baby’s Boogie” (Lee Dorsey) showcases the “attack” of all three harp players. Danny Boy on vocals is at once smooth yet he can grit and grind with the best of them! For those who love to boogie and bop – this is the track for you! SEE THE PROMO VIDEO BELOW

“Flip Flop and Fly” (Charles Calhoun / Lou Willie Turner) is really fun and has that upbeat boogie that makes you do what the song says! Great solos that really shine up the tune.

Overall – if you are new to the Spanish blues scene and you are a blues harp lover and you need a fix of Chicago-style blues and boogie – OR you are a blues harmonica player and want to steel some great licks!! Then this is the CD for you.