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Carey Bell/Steve Jacobs: Good Luck Man

Chicago harmonica giant Carey Bell has forged a similar chemistry with D.C.-based guitar slinger Steve Jacobs, whose wildman style is more audacious than Funderburgh’s tasteful, in-the-pocket approach. The two cook together with a tight Chicago rhythm section on Good Luck Man (Alligator 4854; 59:04). Bell, who studied under Chicago harmonica masters Little Walter Jacobs and Big Walter Horton, is a marvel on the blues harp. His blowing on “Love Her, Don’t Shove Her” pulsates with energy and attitude, he wails with raunchy abandon on “Sleeping With The Devil” and moans poignantly on the slow blues like “”Hard Working Woman” and “Tear Drops.” He kicks out the jams on the rockin’ instrumental “Bell Hop” and turns in inspired readings of Muddy Waters’ “My Love Strikes Like Lightning,” Jimmy Reed’s “Good Lover,” Willie Dixon’s “I’m A Business Man” and Big Walter’s “Hard Hearted Woman.” With this excellent album, Carey Bell stakes a claim as top dog on the Chicago blues harp scene.

Originally Published