Friday, February 5, 2016


The song ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ needs little or no introduction to blues aficionados – written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Muddy Waters in 1954.

Come see this video of ‘Sugar Blue’, playing his heart out: rendering this blues standard in its classic stop-start style!

Blues at its very best – he is armed only with harmonica and well-tuned vocal chords! For those that have not come across him before, Sugar Blue is a, ‘Grammy Award-winning harmonica virtuoso … who was raised in Harlem’ according to the Harmonica Links website.

This video was filmed at the Bern Jazz Festival, Germany in 1995. The visual quality is not that great (and appears a little wrinkly around the edges at times) but the sound quality is not half bad. 

Speaking of being armed, Sugar Blue wears a leather bandolier – for his blues ammunition in the shape and form of his differently tuned harmonicas. I’ve not seen one quite like it. The virtuosity of his harmonica playing is quite astounding. No need for lead guitar on this track as his harmonica does all the talking.

From beautiful harmonies to question-and-answer phrasing, sounds akin to the human voice to rasping, gasping passages - make this a wonderful spectacle to see and a joy to hear. Surely he has to come up for air, sometime soon …?

 I hope you like this as much as I and the audience did.

Review by Lucky Bill

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