George “Harmonica” Smith, Now You Can Talk About Me

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Harmonica innovator’s jumping sides from the ‘60s and ‘80s.

This shamefully undervalued harmonica whiz and (briefly) Muddy Waters sideman, is another Delta refugee who spent most of his career in L.A. Playing the more complex chromatic harp favored by jazz and classical musicians, Smith took Little Walter a giant step further; instead of blowing horn lines, he emulated a whole horn section by playing two notes at once but an octave apart. Thus, he's arguably the last man to advance the blues harmonica sound. His impassioned baritone voice complements his metallic, vibrato-laden harp on these jumping sides from the ’60s and ’80s.