Regular readers will know that I love the blues, and in particular harmonica-driven blues, so I was in heaven when Code Blue crossed the desk considering Sugar Blue is a Grammy Award-winning harmonica player. I just knew this one would be sweeeeet!
Well folks I am glad to tell you that I was right. From the lead cut Krystalline Sugar Blue hits his stride with great harmonica solos, and he never takes the foot off the pedal.
There are some great individual cuts here. For example I loved Chicago Blues, an ode to many of the great blues legends who have sadly gone from the scene, although they will never be forgotten.
Sugar Blue's website at www.sugar-blue.com explains “Blue received his first harmonica from his aunt, and proceeded to hone his chops by wailing along with Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder songs on the radio, he was soon to be influenced by the jazz greats such as Dexter Gordon and Lester Young.” That's a pretty good indication of how deep this man is in the blues, and it shows through on all 11-cuts here.
The instrumentation of course is the strength here. Whereas Blue's voice is less sensational. It's not that it is bad, but it is not one that stands out, and is overshadowed by his harp work. That said you won't buy this CD for Sugar Blue's voice, but you should buy it for the harmonica work. That said if his voice were a little more unique, the score would be higher. It does hold back the overall effect just a little.
Still I have to recommend this for the harp work, Sugar Blue is deadly when he takes off on deep, sweet solos. For a blues fan like me they are exquisite.
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Jan.2, 2008 - Yorkton, SK. Canada