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September 1999

Corey Harris
Greens From the Garden
Alligator Records

Corey Harris, whose previous ventures into real deal country blues put him on the map, steps away from those acoustic roots on Greens From the Garden (Alligator ALCD 4864; 60:24). Not only is the W.C Handy Award-winning blues revivalist playing electric guitar with a full band this time out, he's also dealing in Creole mambos ("Eh La Bas"), Caribbean rhythms ("Wild West"), buoyant waltzes ("Pas Parlez"), N'awlins styled R&B ("Honeysuckle," featuring some rolling piano work by Henry Butler) and some rockin' bar band type workouts ("Basehead"). He even turns in a reggae-fied rendition of "Just a Closer Walk With Thee" with some cool wah-wah guitar licks. Harris reverts back to his country blues roots in brilliant fashion on an unaccompanied dobro rendition of the Delta classic "Sweet Black Angel" and on the ragtime standard "Diddy Wah Diddy." The most striking piece here is also the rawest, a menacing, Muddy Waters-styled one-chord original entitled "Lynch Blues." And on the aptly titled "Congo Square Rag" (recorded live at the Funky Butt directly across the street from Congo Square in New Orleans), Harris is accompanied once again by pianist Butler and a brass band. This genre-hopping project is interspersed with some intriguing spoken word interludes (both in English and Spanish) regarding the fine art of cooking. A pleasant surprise.

Originally published in September 1999
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