2021 – M.C. Records
By Phillip Smith; Oct. 31, 2021
Recorded in Atri, Italy in the early months of COVID shutdowns, Insurrection Blues the twentieth release from Corey Harris, marks his first record for M.C. Records. Harris keeps this recording a solo-effort which features just him and his acoustic guitar, making for a beautiful and intimate listening experience. This fifteen-track album is a really nice mix of deep blues covers, traditional songs, and original pieces.
From the first song “Twelve Gates to the City”, Harris has my full attention. I love the tone of his guitar as he performs this spiritual traditional. His cover of Charlie Patton’s “Some of These Days” is a pure delight. Harris suavely slips into troubadour mode, breathing new life to “When Did You Leave Heaven”, the song which launched Tony Martin’s career as a recording artist in 1936. His velvety vocals on this track are backed by guest Lino Mugio on mandolin. Harris performs the instrumental “Toubaka” with an elegant grace. I really like “Mama Africa” too. This original has flavors which remind me of Led Zeppelin. The trance-friendly groove of Skip James’ “Special Rider” is fabulously intoxicating. With a Robbie Kriegler-like guitar approach, Harris instills a Doors vibe into title-track “Insurrection Blues”. Harris’ affinity for the classics shines brightly as he pays tribute to Blind Blake on a couple of tracks: “You Gonna Quit Me Baby” and “That Will Never Happen No More”.
We need an album like Insurrection Blues every once in a while, to remind us of where the blues began. I can certainly see this one grabbing an award for best traditional blues.
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