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May 1999

Snooky Pryor
Shake My Hand
Blind Pig Records

Veteran harpist Snooky Pryor, a pioneer of the amplified harmonica in post-war Chicago, blows with rough authority on Shake My Hand (Blind Pig 5050; 42:38). The title track is a stark, powerfully affecting unaccompanied number that showcases Snooky testifying on vocals and harp. A no-nonsense, understated rhythm section joins him on Chicago style versions of Hank Ballard "Work With Me Annie," "Pistol Packin' Mama" and the boogie woogie "Tomorrow Night." They reprise Pryor's own slow blues classic "Telephone Blues" and his engaging "In This Mess Up To My Chest," the title track of an earlier album on the Antone label. And on the instrumental "Jump for Joy" Snooky proves that, at age 77, he can still rock. Raggedy...in a good way.

Originally published in May 1999
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