Good Luck Man
Fourteen tough blues, from six Bell originals to songs by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Big Walter Horton. W.C. Handy Traditional Blues Album of the Year. "Jaw-dropping technique...stunning intensity, elegantly lowdown"--CHICAGO TRIBUNE
WINNER OF THE 1997 BLUES MUSIC AWARD FOR "TRADITIONAL BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR"
All songs by Carey Bell Harrington, Eyeball Music, BMI, except as noted
Carey Bell, Harmonica and Vocals
Steve Jacobs, Lead Guitar
Johnny "Fingers" Iguana, Piano
Will Crosby, Rhythm Guitar+
T. A. James, Bass *
Johnny B. Gayden, Bass+
Tom Parker, Drums*
Willie Hayes, Drums+
Produced by Carey Bell Harrington, Bruce Iglauer, Steve Jacobs and Scott Dirks
Recorded and mixed by David Axelbaum at Streeterville Studios, Chicago, IL
Recording and mixing assistance by Chris Reffett, Steve Slavick and Ron Gresham
Cover and inlay photos by Paul Natkin/Photo Reserve
Recording studio and live performance photos by Noel Grigalunus
Design by Matthias Minde
Mastered by Jason Rau and Bruce Iglauer at Monster Disc, Chicago, IL
Carey Bell was recorded using Victoria amplifiers.
Carey Bell is among the last of a generation of blues harmonica players whose musical roots are deep in the South, whose talent was nurtured in the tough Chicago ghetto clubs and playing for tips at the Maxwell Street Market, and whose immense talents have made them blues icons worldwide. Like his friends James Cotton and Junior Wells, Carey learned firsthand from the men who defined electrified blues harmonica: Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Like both James and Junior, Carey held down the coveted harmonica spot in Muddy Waters' band. Willie Dixon made him a member of the Chicago Blues All-Stars, and Carey has been a regular part of the award-winning Muddy Waters Tribute Band.
He's led his own bands off and on since the late 1960s, featuring a host of great players and his own overwhelming powerful, funky, yet subtle and always-tasteful harmonica and his gruff, true blues vocals. He's cut albums as both a leader and a sideman for a variety of labels; he first appeared on Alligator way back in 1972, backing Big Walter Horton on the label's second release.
For the last nine years, Carey's musical partner in crime has been Washington, D.C.-based wildman guitarist Steve Jacobs, and the chemistry between them can be felt on every cut on this album. "I love him," says Carey. "He's like a right arm to me. He can feel where I'm going and he's right there with me." The less-is-more rhythm section of T.A. James and Tom Parker has been touring with Carey and Steve for about three years now, but this album is the first time they've had a chance to record together, augmented by Johnny Iguana, ace Chicago keyboard man and former Junior Wells band member. Half of Good Luck Man features this tight little band.
For other tunes, Carey, Steve and their co-producers chose some of Chicago's finest and funkiest contemporary bluesmen, including famed bassman Johnny B. Gayden, a veteran of Albert Collins' Icebreakers, drummer Willie Hayes, most recently with Luther Allison and Junior Wells, and hotshot guitarist Will Crosby, who has toured with Eddy Clearwater and many others.
Carey picked songs from some of his inspirations -- My Love Strikes Like Lightning from Muddy Waters, Sleeping With The Devil from his first boss in Chicago, the late mandolinist Johnny Young, I'm A Business Man from the amazing Little Walter, Good Lover from Jimmy Reed and the classic Hard Hearted Woman from Carey's #1 teacher, Big Walter Horton. But Carey also created six new classics of his own, just waiting to be covered by the next generation of bluesmen.
To every song, original and cover tune alike, Carey brings his decades of experience, his taste, humor and subtlety, and the kind of roots that can't be learned sitting at home studying records. He learned from the masters, and has become one himself. -- Bruce Iglauer
Also available by Carey Bell on Alligator CDs:
Deep Down, ALCD 4828
With James Cotton, Junior Wells, Billy Branch, Harp Attack! ALCD 4790
With Big Walter Horton, Big Walter Horton With Carey Bell, ALCD 4702