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Daily Bread

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Album Review

Corey Harris takes a decidedly anthropological and academic approach to the blues, deeply researching its variants and origins, even making several trips to Africa to trace out its DNA (resulting in the marvelous Mississippi to Mali), but even as Harris thinks and connects dots like a scholar, when he gets down to playing the songs, he's all musician, and that leads him to create some wonderful hybrids. One would expect Harris to build further on the Mali connection for this album, but Daily Bread surprises by sounding more Jamaican than anything else, and even includes striking covers of John Holt's "I See Your Face" and Sylford Walker's "Lamb's Bread," which merge the reggae rhythms of the originals with a sort of blues sensibility, while the political "The Bush Is Burning" is nothing less than full-blown ska. There are two tracks here ("Mami Wata" and "The Peach") featuring guitarist, trumpeter, and vocalist Olu Dara that do build on the African dimension, with "The Peach" — a ten-minute-long Griot creation rap — in particular becoming a kind of perfect blend of Africa and Delta, but the rhythmic synthesis is so complete on Daily Bread that everything meshes together like pieces from the same bright quilt. Perhaps the most amazing thing about this album is how ultimately American it sounds (no doubt thanks to the presence of New Orleans pianist Henry Butler on several cuts) in spite of its Caribbean and African lilt, a testament to how well Harris pulls all these different international strands together without losing sight of where his musical journey began. Given his penchant for researching origins and sources, one would expect Harris to have a preservationist approach to the blues, but he's really more interested in the dynamic possibilities of the genre, and he does this on Daily Bread by looking to Africa and the Caribbean, with the end result being a wonderfully varied and yet unified album that preserves the blues by gracefully expanding the genre's possibilities.

Customer Reviews

Hey, Alright!

I was really expecting this album to be THE album of his career. After ‘Mississippi to Mali’ I’d figured he’d gotten some new energy, new inspiration to combine with his former greatness and make one killer album. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great one, but not all I expected it to be. Corey has yet to make that one album. This CD is really fun with many really strong songs. The sore spots in my opinion were the tracks ‘Nickel and a Nail’, that one seems forced and somewhat sloppy. Also ‘The Bush is Burning’ I’d apply the same comments. Otherwise, the album is great! I recommend this one as well as any other Corey Harris albums. We’ll just have to wait for that one album which I think he is very close to making.


Really good, i like got to be a better way, good song


Born: February 21, 1969 in Denver, CO

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Corey Harris has earned substantial critical acclaim as one of the few contemporary bluesmen able to channel the raw, direct emotion of acoustic Delta blues without coming off as an authenticity-obsessed historian. Although he is well versed in the early history of blues guitar, he's no well-mannered preservationist, mixing a considerable variety of influences -- from New Orleans to the Caribbean to Africa -- into his richly expressive music. In doing so, he's managed to appeal to a wide spectrum...
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