William Clarke, Blowin’ Like Hell

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 07.27.11 in Reviews
Representing the last real advances in blues harp

An acolyte of (and collaborator with) George “Harmonica” Smith, this L.A. cat represents the last real advances in blues harp. He may have blown like hell but he (along with his guitarist Alex Schultz) was also refined; his chromatic work, heavily influenced by soul-jazz, and swing alike, was ambitious but also unpretentious (hear “Must Be Jelly”). Already a legend with several D.I.Y. albums on the left coast even before this 1990 Alligator debut, he remained unsurpassed both rhythmically and lyrically until his 1996 death.