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Big Harp George - Cut My Spirit Loose


Big Harp George

I really thought I was listening to a live recording the first time I dove into Cut My Spirit Loose. The freewheeling spontaneity, the looseness and the fun of it all, knocked me out. Big Harp George delivers a party album from start to finish, but there are a few somber tones along the way as well.


Big Harp George refers to the blues as “the party music of the oppressed.” Every song here has a distinct personality, moving where it wants to go and taking what it needs.


George picked up the harp for the first time at the age of 12, drawing inspiration from the work of chromatic masters like Paul DeLay, William Clarke, and George “Harmonica” Smith. Little Charlie was a huge inspiration and a tremendous source of encouragement. In 2014 he was nominated for a BMA for Best New Artist.


Cut My Spirit Loose is overflowing with outstanding West Coast jump blues that has the horns rockin' and all the musicians firing on all cylinders. Lennon and McCartney's “She's A Woman” gets a complete makeover that John and Paul would marvel at - a Latin boogaloo arrangement that totally reinvents this classic, and deserves airplay from coast to coast.


Lulu Bisharat makes a hysterical cameo at the end of “My Dog Is Better Than You.” “Take a Knee” features Kid Andersen on acoustic guitar and “Captain Jack" tells the story of a native Modo leader whose real name was Kintpush, a deeply emotional experience for the band that became spiritually moving after is was finished. “Sunrise Stroll” is a stellar instrumental, multi-layered with some outstanding harp work, incredible guitar, and seismic work from the horn section; “Pile Driving Sam" is that woman-loving gentleman, another sly wink from Big Harp George, with Chris Burns ripping into the barrelhouse piano and Kid Andersen slashing through with his fiery guitar work; Kid Andersen is a mother plucker on banjo throughout the vintage swing of “Give Me the Dark" and “Prince of Downward Mobility” is a sarcastic and wickedly clever poke and a hard kick to the upper crust with Chris Burns piano and those blaring horns leading the way.


Take a trip down to Frenchmen Street, throw yourself into a nearby second-Line, samba and shimmy as George leads the way, and party hearty on “Bustin' Out.” You know you are in for a good time when the title track, “It's Tuesday” delivers a raucous singalong that hilariously details our struggles getting through the pandemic, has you cranking it up, doing the hip shake, while singing right along as best you can.


Cut My Spirit Loose is a must have for fans of raucous, rowdy, West Coast swing, and for everyone who loves a first-rate horn-driven band. This is pure musical magic!


Hopefully Big Harp George will be on the radar of blues fans everywhere. Music this good deserves to be on many awards lists for 2023. Clever lyrics, wickedly cool harp work, excellent guitar work, wonderful musicianship, hell hath no fury horns, compelling vocals - and a whole lot of fun - what's not to like?


Damn good and highly recommended! Most definitely my party soundtrack for the summer months. Play it LOUD!!!


Reviewed by John Muller


Label: Blues Mountain Records

Produced by: Chris Burns

Released: 2023

Artist Website: bigharpgeorge.com

Musicians: Big Harp George - lead vocals and harmonica on all tracks / Ben Torres - flute / Chris Burns - Keyboards on all tracks / Derrick D'Mar Martin - Drums and percussion / Doug Rowan - Baritone Sax / Ed Morrison - Trumpet / Jeff Lewis - Trumpet / Joe Kyle, Jr. - Bass on all tracks / June Core - Drums / Kid Andersen - Guitar on all tracks ; Banjo ; Clown Horn and Guiro ; Drums and Vibraphone / Lisa Leuschner Andersen - Backing Vocals / Loralee Christensen - Backing Vocals / Lulu Bisharat - Barking Vocals / Michael Peloquin - Tenor and baritone Sax / Mike Rinta - Trombone and Tuba / Sons of the Soul Revivers ( James Dwayne, and Walter Morgan ) - Backing Vocals




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