Thursday, February 9, 2012

View into the blues

Most doctors don't hold Saturday night office hours; Dr. Harp is not like most doctors.

This doctor_ known to some as Dennis Martin_ is a harmonica-playing veteran of the regional blues scene, and his Dr. Harp's Blues Revue has lit up both the Coppertop and music festivals at the mountain.

Dr. Harp and his Blues Revue hit the Coppertop stage again Saturday starting at 8 p.m. Dr. Harp traces his career back to a stint touring as the harmonica player in Big Joe Turner's band. Most recently, Dr. Harp recorded an acoustic album with his band and produced a blues program for the public-access television station in his neck of the New Hampshire woods.

In keeping with this week's theme of finding out what music moves musicians, Dr. Harp provided a list of "essential blues" (no surprise that it's heavy on harmonica players):

Little Walter- "'My Babe.' That harmonica lick is really one of a kind."

Jimmy Reed- "He wasn't  just a great musician but also a great writer. I love his songs 'Baby, What You Want Me to Do,' 'Going to New York,' and 'Bright Lights, Big City.'"

Sonny Boy Williamson- "'Keep it to Yourself' is a great song but wasn't as popular here as it was in England."

James Cotton- "'Cotton Boogie.' That song was a big influence on rock 'n' roll. I was also influenced by the album 'Harp Attack' with Billy Branch, Carey Bell, Junior Wells, and James Cotton, and 'Hard Again' with Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and Cotton.'"

Kim Wilson- "Even though  the Fabulous Thunderbirds were more of a rock band, I like what he did on  'Tuff Enuff.' As far as guitar players go, I like (original Thunderbirds' guitarist) Jimmie Vaughan. He has a nice clean sound."

Charlie Musselwhite- "I love the John Lee Hooker boogie influence in his playing."

Paul Butterfield- "'Born in Chicago' is such a great song. He played with a rhumba feel and really filled out the sound."

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