Friday, June 02, 2006

Harmonica Shah - Listen at Me Good (Electro-Fi, 2006)

Harmonica Shah (what a great stage name!) kicks it out old school, hurling great meaty slabs of blues harp and chest thumping vocals backed by a tough and gritty crew that is with him all the way - through the tough streets of the Motor City where gang warfare takes down mothers and babies, past the bill collectors who will give him no rest, over the bossman who will give him no sympathy and finally to the graveyard where he can finally lay down his weary blues. Is there a better musical city in the world than Detroit? You have to be tough as nails and smooth as glass just to survive and the music that comes pouring out of that crucible is frequently amazing whatever the genre.

The supporting cast that makes the blues great is all present and accounted for as well, legions of cheatin' women and lyin' men await, but Shah chucks the whole damn lot and declares "I've Got to Help My Own Damn Self" because "Bullets Don't Care" and he's surrounded by "Lies, Lies, Lies." This is raw and unpretentious workingman's blues and Shah delivers it with total conviction. In a world filled with posers and wanna-be's, Harmonica Shah is the real deal - listen at him good, indeed, because they don't make old-fashioned street savvy music like this often enough anymore.

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