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Carey Bell biography



Carey Bell (November 14, 1936 - May 6, 2007 As a child, Bell was intrigued by the music of Louis Jordan. Bell wanted a saxophone in order to be like his hero Jordan; however, Bell's family could not afford a saxophone he had to settle for the harmonica, colloquially known as a "Mississippi saxophone." Soon Bell was attracted by the blues harmonica greats: DeFord Bailey, Big Walter Horton, Marion "Little Walter" Jacobs, and Sonny Boy Williamson I and II. Bell taught himself to play. By the time he was eight, he was quite proficient on the instrument. When he was thirteen, Bell joined his pianist godfather Lovie Lee's blues band. Despite Bell's learning from some of the greatest blues harp players of the genre, he arrived in Chicago at an unfortunate time. The demand for harp players was decreasing there as electric guitar became the prominent blues instrument. To pay the bills, Bell continued to play bass and joined several bands as a bassist. In the late 1960s, he appeared regularly on the west side of Chicago with guitarists Eddie Taylor and Royal Johnson, playing both harmonica and bass. In 1969 Bell toured Europe and the UK with the American Folk Blues Festival, and played at the Royal Albert Hall in London, appearing on a live recording of the event. During the 1980s Bell continued to record for various labels and to tour. In 1990, Bell teamed up with fellow harpists Junior Wells, James Cotton and Billy Branch to record Harp Attack!. Alligator years Despite years in the business and work with Alligator, Bell's first full-length solo album for the label was not until Deep Down, released in 1995. In 1997, Bell released the second album on the label Good Luck Man. Second Nature (originally recorded in Finland a few years earlier) followed in 2004; a duet album with his guitarist son, Lurrie Bell (who shared the guitar duties with Carl Weathersby on Deep Down). In 1998, Bell was awarded the Blues Music Award for Traditional Male Artist Of The Year. Final work In 2007 Delmark records released a live set by Bell accompanied by a band which included his son Lurrie, guitarist Scott Cable, Kenny Smith, Bob Stroger and Joe Thomas. Discography 1969 Carey Bell's Blues Harp (Delmark) 1973 Last Night (One Way) 1977 Heartaches and Pain (Delmark) 1982 Goin' on Main Street (Evidence) 1983 Son of a Gun (Rooster Blues) 1986 Straight Shoot (Blues South West) 1988 Harpslinger (JSP) 1990 Dynasty! (JSP) 1991 Mellow Down Easy (Blind Pig) 1992 Breakdown Blues-Live (CMA Rec.) with 'The Cat' 1994 Harpmaster (JSP) 1995 Carey Bell & Spike Ravenswood (Saar) 1995 Deep Down (Alligator) 1997 Good Luck Man (Alligator) 1999 Brought Up the Hard Way (JSP CD 802) 2004 Second Nature (Alligator) 2007 Gettin Up: Live at Buddy Guy's Legends Rosa's (Delmark) with Louisiana Red1980 Reality Blues (L+R) 1983 Boy from Black Bayou (L+R) 1984 My Life (L+R) 1993 Brothers in Blues (CMA Rec.) 1994 Live at 55 (Enja) 2004 The Blues Masters Bad Case of the Blues (Mojo Tone ) Collaborations with other artists 1969 Wanna dance all Night, John Lee Hooker (Musidisc) 1972/73 Lake Michigan Ain't No River with Bob Riedy Blues Band 1974 Just Off Halsted with Bob Riedy Blues Band (Flying Fish FF 006) 1980 Blues after Sunrise, Heinz Sauer, Bob Degen (L+R 40017) 1990 Harp Attack! (Alligator) with James Cotton, Junior Wells and Billy Branch 1991 Delta Bluesman, Honeyboy Edwards (Earwig 4922) 1994 Good Candy , Lovie Lee (Earwig 4928) 1996 You Can't Take My Blues, Doug MacLeod (Sledgehammer Blues 2-AQM-1041) 1998 Blues Blues Blues, The Jimmy Rogers All Stars (Atlantic) 2001 Superharps II (Telarc) with Lazy Lester, Raful Neal and Snooky Pryor