Artist: Erin Harpe & the Delta Swingers
Album: Love Whip Blues
Label: VizzTone/Juicy Juju Records
Release Date: 11/04/2014
The unlikely named but suggestive Love Whip Blues is one of those albums that turn up from time to time from a modestly largely unknown source, but immediately grabs the senses with a power and beauty that simply improves listen-on-listen.
Led by acoustic picker Erin Harpe, the band supporting her here includes Jim Countryman on bass, Bob Nisi, drums, and Richard Rosenblatt, harp. Produced by guitarist Dave Gross, who also works a few tracks, both Bob Margolin and Sonny Jim Clifford also add their not inconsiderable weight to the project.
Boston-based Harpe is a very fine guitar picker, with a great grasp of the ragtimey-blues feel and tradition in particular. Her voice is glitzy and grounded in the tradition too. Included in the ten tracks featured are many self-penned numbers that highlight a mastery and confidence with the material that comes from the heart– sultry and soulful, with flashes of juicy temptation growling at the core.
Harpe includes an excellent cover of John Prine’s, now much covered these days, track, “Angel From Montgomery,” and a fresh take on Willie Dixon’s old, mesmerizing “Mississippi Blues’”– here shaken up with fresh lyrics and titled “Charles River Delta Blues.”
Love Whip Blues is an album to note and one I personally never seem to get quite enough of. An excellent bit of work.