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Harpin' On It

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Album Review

WestSide's 13-track collection Harpin' on It: The Complete Jewel Recordings compiles all of the songs Frank Frost cut for the Louisiana label in the mid-'60s. While these sides aren't as down-and-dirty as his earlier material for Sun, they're still enjoyable, revved-up juke joint blues. If anything, he stretches the form a little bit here, getting a little funkier with the rhythms, a little rockier in the guitar, and all the production sounds a bit more modern, more like the mid-'60s (which, ironically enough, means it doesn't sound as timeless as his earlier recordings). Throughout it all, Frost's great harp is front and center, and his playing is always first-rate, even when the material is a little pedestrian. Fortunately, he hit the mark more often than not while on Jewel — most notably on instrumentals, plus the great Slim Harpo takeoff, "My Back Scratcher" — which is why this is worth hearing.

Biography

Born: April 15, 1936 in Auvergne, AR

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Although the atmospheric juke joint blues of Frank Frost remained steeped in unadulterated Delta funk throughout his career, his ongoing musical journey took him well outside his Mississippi home base. He moved to St. Louis in 1951, learning how to blow harp first from Little Willie Foster and then from the legendary Sonny Boy Williamson, who took him on the road — as a guitar player — from 1956 to 1959. Drummer Sam...
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Harpin' On It, Frank Frost
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