Search - Corey Harris :: Mississippi to Mali

Mississippi to Mali
Corey Harris
Mississippi to Mali
Genres: Blues, Pop
 
No Description Available. Genre: Blues Music Media Format: Compact Disk Rating: Release Date: 18-NOV-2003

     
   
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CD Details

All Artists: Corey Harris
Title: Mississippi to Mali
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 1
Label: Rounder / Umgd
Release Date: 11/18/2003
Genres: Blues, Pop
Styles: Contemporary Blues, Delta Blues, Acoustic Blues, Modern Blues
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 011661319820, 011661319820

Synopsis

Product Description
No Description Available.
Genre: Blues Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 18-NOV-2003

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CD Reviews

Excellent music; serious production problems though
Scott Bernstein | New York, NY United States | 05/14/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I'm a huge music fan and love all kinds of music, especially The Blues, owning around 100 blues CDs, including a few others by Corey Harris; I've even seen him perform live, and would consider myself a fan.This CD is related to Corey's participation in Martin Scorsese's PBS documentary about The Blues, and attempts (rather successfully) to draw the links between American Blues and its African roots through collaboration with modern-day African musicians. There are new originals, a tribute to recently-passed Otha Turner (who was to have played on the album), and a number of excellent covers of classic blues tunes (Big Road Blues, Special Rider Blues, Station Blues, 44 Blues, Catfish Blues, Dark Was The Night...) that many blues fans will be familiar with, collaborations with African music star Ali Farka Toure (a superb guitarist/vocalist) and others, along with American blues artists like Bobby Rush.OK, so far so good -- a good concept for a blues journey, and quality music performed by quality musicians all converge towards excellent music and performances.But there is a MAJOR problem with this album -- about 1/2 of the songs (any songs that have Souleyman Kane playing percussion on them) were extremely poorly recorded. The problem is that the percussionist plays some very loud percussion instruments (I have no idea what exactly they are) that sound exactly like people playing ping-pong. And he plays them loudly and constantly throughout the entire song -- so much so that it sounds like someone is playing a ping-pong game in front of my stereo, obscuring the vocals, guitars, and whatever else is on the recording! Those songs should be labled as "Souleyman Kane featuring other musicians and vocalists far in the background". He is a talented and interesting percussionist, don't get me wrong, but he's not the reason I'm listening to this music.This sort of recording quality problem might be excused from a classic field recording made in the 1920's or 1930's, but there is absolutely no excuse for this sort of problem to be heard on a recording made in 2002 & 2003! OK, I realize that they made many of the recordings in remote Mali, but that is no excuse for the engineers not to listen back to the recordings and adjust the setup so that you can hear the instruments in proper balance (I've done a bit of recording engineering myself in the past, so I know a bit about the subject). I could even excuse this issue if it only existed for a song or 2 if they noticed and then corrected it, but it is really problematic throughout 8 of the 15 songs!You may think I'm just a stickler for a good recording, but I am not -- it REALLY detracts from enjoying the music -- after a while you'll find that the only thing you're hearing on the songs is the ping-pong sound. Check out some of the other reviews if you don't believe me -- I'm not the only one commenting on this.If you decide to buy this CD, you will probably find yourself listening to the whole thing once and then subsequently programming your CD player to play only the 7 songs on the disc without the percussionist. Then you'll have a 5-star (if short) CD. Otherwise I give this 5 stars for 7 of the songs, 2 stars for the other 8, averaging out to about 3 stars."
Blues connections
twangmon | Nashville, TN USA | 12/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For this celebration of earthy acoustic music, scholar and bluesman extraordinaire Corey Harris trekked to Mississippi and Mali, West Africa, to make a series of modern field recordings. Stateside, Harris cut resonator slide tracks with fife-and-drum musicians; in Mali, his bandmates included the great Ali Farka Toure on guitar. The resulting performances -- a mix of traditional blues and African melodies, songs by Skip James and Blind Willie Johnson, and originals by Harris and Toure -- are as spontaneous and relaxed as a back porch pickin' session. Through his music, Harris reminds us of the rhythmic, melodic, and spiritual connection between traditional African sounds and early American blues. If you're bummed by the slick production values of contemporary blues guitar albums, the dry, present tones and relentless funk of these tracks will set you right."
"The Roots of a Tree cast no Shadow
Jack Sullivan | Kansas City, Mo The Music Capitol | 04/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The CD insert has a great quote "the roots of a tree cast no shadow". It is attributed to no one, on the sleeve it simply says, "As they say". I don't know who "they" are but after listening to this CD, "they" are right. The roots are presented exquisitely from "Mississippi to Mali". One can hear it in the notes, the rhythms and the sounds of the instruments and it clearly speaks one word, "Blues".

It starts right out with a beautiful acoustic solo song titled "Coahoma". The sweet guitar picking and slide work are just a peek into what is to come. Roots Blues at its best. The next song has a feel of a front porch somewhere in the south with "Corey" on vocals, guitar, "Bobby Rush" on harmonica and "Sam Carr" on drums performing the traditional "Big Road Blues".

"The idea for this CD came about through my participation in Martin Scorsese"s PBS series, The Blues". "Corey Harris". The African connection begins to make it self known as Corey Harris plays vocals and guitar on the "Skip James" tune "Special Rider Blues" accompanied by "Ali Farka Toure" on njarka (a one string violin) and "Souleyman Kane on percussion. It is a haunting rendition of this classic. The rhythms of the njarka and "Souleyman's" percussion will make your hair stand on end.

"Tamalah" the title of the next track introduces "Ali Magassa" on backup vocal. "Ali Farka Toure" wrote this song. The lyrics are African and the music is blues. There is a sad soulful quality to this track with a solid backbeat.

"Back Atcha" by "Sharde Thomas" the granddaughter and protégé of fife and drum master Otha Turner. The CD is dedicated to him as he passed one week before he was to record for this project. It features "The Rising Star Fife and Drum band with Corey on vocals, guitar and "Sharde" on fife and vocals. This is Mississippi backcountry fife and drum at it's finest.

With "Rokie" the next track we find ourselves back to Mali enjoying sweet rhythms under a tree shaded from the sun. To quote "Corey Harris" "I wanted to demonstrate the living links between African music and African-American music, specifically the blues and its offspring: jazz, funk, r&b and hip hop. The connection has been made and done beautifully.

In the remaining tracks "Le Chanson Des Bozos" the living roots are clearly established. "Mr. Turner" is a slow blues featuring "Sam Carr" on drums and "Bobby Rush" on harmonica with "Corey Harris" on vocals and guitar. This has that old blues feel all the way through.

The traditional "Station Blues" with the "Rising Star Fife and Drum Band" is sure to get your toes tapping with its solid rhythms. Your sure to be impressed with the Africanized version of "Skip James" "Cypress Grove'. The feel of this CD is one of a labor of love and it is clearly evident connection between Mississippi and Mali, more to the point between African and African American music. The roots are there for all to see, if you let the music in.

The album ends with a moving rendition of "Blind Willie Johnson's" "Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground" which showcases Corey's acoustic slide skills. This is fine body of work from a most reverent player of the blues.

Jack "Sulli" Sullivan


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