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Carey Bell

His place on the honor roll of Chicago blues harpists long ago assured, Carey Bell truly came into his own in the '90s as a bandleader with terrific discs for Alligator and Blind Pig. He learned his distinctive harmonica riffs from the Windy City's very best (both Walters -- Little and Big -- as well as Sonny Boy Williamson II), adding his own signature effects for good measure (an otherworldly moan immediately identifies many of his more memorable harp rides).

Born Carey Bell Harrington in the blues-fertile state of Mississippi, he was already playing the harp when he was eight and working professionally with his godfather, pianist Lovie Lee, at 13. The older and more experienced Lee brought Carey with him to Chicago in search of steady musical opportunities in 1956. Gigs frequently proved scarce, and Carey eventually took up electric bass, playing behind Robert Nighthawk, Johnny Young, and his mentor Big Walter Horton. Finally, in 1969, Bell made his debut album (on harp) for Delmark, and he was on his way.

Bell served invaluable early-'70s stints in the bands of Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, touring extensively and recording with both legends. Alligator Records has been responsible for much of Bell's best recorded work as a leader, beginning with a joint venture with Horton back in 1972. Four cuts by Bell on the first batch of Alligator's Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1978 preceded his participation in the 1990 harmonica summit meeting Harp Attack!, which brought him into the studio with fellow greats James Cotton, Junior Wells, and Billy Branch. His solo set for Alligator, Deep Down, rates as his finest album. Bell has sired a passel of blues-playing progeny; best-known of the brood is mercurial guitarist Lurrie Bell. ~ Bill Dahl, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Great blues artist!! \m/
hahaha play dem blues
hahahaha wooooh
WOW again. He sound just like James Cotton or Junior Wells. Love the sound. Paul from Chi town.
sweet
awesome
tremblay0
Mike Tremblay I had the pleasure of meeting Carey Bell and Tab Benoit at a small club in Billerica Ma. 10 or 15yrs. ago.The place was called the Doghouse. Where we also had a barbecue!!!! ! AWSOME TIME!!!!!
Love Carey Bell. Use to see him regularly at Biddy Mulligans on Sheridan Road on the far north side of Chicago in late 70s. Lead singer and harmonica player in the Bob Reidy Blues Band.
This is the best Blues I have ever heard
lisa.mangobl u e
He passed away?
thanks Pandora when i ask for blues you gave it to me and not the same thing over nad over again. half of what hear i haven't heard before thank you. When i heard Carey Bell he just blew me away.
gabydeluna81
i can sooo appreciate these talented musicians. i cant help but just bob my head and dance or to feal the ache in the music. there is no other music that touches me deep down the way them blue do!
Great harp player, great guy. I'm proud to have shared a drink with him and talk Blues for a night.
Been listening to blues all night, and it so sweet on this Pandora, but Carey Bell is the best of them all. I keep plugg'n him into my radio staton, over and over. That drummer back there is kick'n it hard. I'm late to the game, and don't live near Chicago, but I wonder is there anybody there now that plays like Mr. Bell? Or is that a dumb question?
queenbz
It's been a little over year since his passing and I still shed tears over the death of this giant of blues harp who I was lucky to call friend and mentor. Spending several years as Carey's bass player was the fulfillment of one of my fondest dreams. His talent and energy seemed boundless when he hit the stage despite health problems. He had a sweet,though t f u l , churlish, trusingy, funny,disill u s i o n e d and generous nature.An excellent bass player in his youth he guided me without domineering.
All was going GREAT untill that damn guitarist caame on board screaming like some scalded ape!

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