CD review by Ian McKenzie (editor, Blues in the South)
Pete Harris and Jon Vaughan
Pay Some Attention!
Forest Tracks (www.forest-tracks.co.uk)
Peter Harris is a stalwart of the blues scene in and around Southampton in the UK. He has been ‘on the road’ for 30 plus years
and has played with many local bands (including his own and that of Bob Pearce) and has
supported many American blues artistes, including Phil Guy (brother of Buddy Guy),
Lowell Fulson, Tabby Thomas, Gene ” Mighty Flea” Connors, Mojo Buford (ex Muddy
Waters Band), and many more. Pete’s last album with the Pete Harris R&B All Stars was an
IBBA pick of the month at the latter end of last year.
“Pay Some Attention!” was recorded “live” in the studio (no edits or overdubs) by Andy
Harris, and it showcases the mixture of blues, ragtime and gospel featured by Pete and Jon in
their live performances.
The first thing to say about this is that the recording quality of outstanding. Crystal
clarity and a wonderful vibe. The inclusion of some (heavy) foot stomping is inspired and the
guitar and harp work are inspirational too (more of this in a moment). The balance between
the instruments and Pete’s vocal is exemplary with the vocal part well to the front and a
broad brush for the guitar part giving a massive depth and breadth to the music.
Pete is a sure fingered guitar player with some excellent licks in his bag whether playing claw-hammer style a la Mississippi
John Hurt (Get Right Church and The Angels Laid Him Away), Delta blues with a slide, Don’t Go No Further, Don’t Lie To Me
or flat picking on the outstanding version of Good Morning Blues (the best version I have heard in many a long year). .
Jon Vaughan’s harp work is outstanding. He has a fabulous tone and is an inventive player. The opening notes of (Big Joe
Williams’) Baby Please Don’t Go, is a stunning low note (D?) which is then flattened and brought back into tune again. It makes
the hair on the back of my neck stand up!
I spoke above of this record being inspirational. It is that because Pete and Jon, make it all sound effortless. They make it
sound easy, which of course it is not. Anyone thinking they might like to learn blues guitar or blues harp may easily be inspired
by this magical album. (The album is available at gigs or from www.forest-tracks.co.uk (hard copy only, no downloads.)