Lurrie Bell & The Bell Dynasty - Tribute To Carey Bell
  • 01 Gone To Main Street
  • 02 Hard Hearted Woman
  • 03 I Got To Go (w/ Charlie Musselwhite)
  • 04 Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
  • 05 Tomorrow Night
  • 06 So Hard to Leave You Alone (w/ Billy Branch)
  • 07 What My Momma Told Me
  • 08 Woman In Trouble
  • 09 Carey Bell Was A Friend Of Mine (w/ Billy Branch)
  • 10 Break It Up
  • 11 Heartaches And Pain
  • 12 When I Get Drunk
  • 01 Gone To Main Street
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:25) [10.34 MB]
  • 02 Hard Hearted Woman
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (04:29) [12.79 MB]
  • 03 I Got To Go (w/ Charlie Musselwhite)
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:53) [11.43 MB]
  • 04 Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (05:49) [15.84 MB]
  • 05 Tomorrow Night
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:11) [9.8 MB]
  • 06 So Hard to Leave You Alone (w/ Billy Branch)
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (08:46) [22.58 MB]
  • 07 What My Momma Told Me
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:02) [9.49 MB]
  • 08 Woman In Trouble
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (06:09) [16.59 MB]
  • 09 Carey Bell Was A Friend Of Mine (w/ Billy Branch)
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (05:40) [15.51 MB]
  • 10 Break It Up
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:35) [10.75 MB]
  • 11 Heartaches And Pain
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (05:29) [15.08 MB]
  • 12 When I Get Drunk
    Genre: Blues
    MP3 (03:53) [11.42 MB]
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Lurrie Bell & The Bell Dynasty
A Tribute To Carey Bell with special guests Charlie Musselwhite and Billy Branch
Delmark DE 855

It’s almost 50 years since blues harpmaster Carey Bell released Carey Bell’s Blues Harp (Delmark 622), his debut album. Carey’s children followed him into blues and performed with him often while growing up. Lurrie’s debut recording was with Carey appearing on Heartaches And Pain (Delmark 666) and he joined with pops again in 2006 to record a live album / DVD, Gettin’ Up (Delmark 791/DVD 1791) only one year before Carey passed away. Now Lurrie, Steve, Tyson and James Bell join forces as The Bell Dynasty to present this tribute to their dad, Carey Bell. Notes by Scott Dirks enclosed.

1. Gone To Main Street 3:24
2. Hard Hearted Woman 4:29
3. I Got To Go 3:53
4. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize 5:46
5. Tomorrow Night 3:10
6. So Hard To Leave You Alone 8:45
7. What My Momma Told Me 3:02
8. Woman In Trouble 6:08
9. Carey Bell Was A Friend Of Mine 5:40
10. Break It Up 3:35
11. Heartaches And Pain 5:29
12. When I Get Drunk 3:53

Lurrie Bell, vocals, guitar
Steve Bell, harmonica
Tyson Bell, bass
James Bell vocals (4,7,10), drums

With special guests:
Charlie Musselwhite, harmonica (3)
Billy Branch, vocals, harmonica (6,9)
Eddie Taylor Jr., guitar (all except 6,9,12)
Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi, piano (6,9,12)

1. Gone To Main Street 3:24 (Mckinley Morganfield, Arc Music/Watertoons, BMI)
2. Hard Hearted Woman 4:29 (Walter Horton, Arc Music, BMI)
3. I Got To Go 3:53 (Walter Jacobs, Arc Music, BMI)
4. Keep Your Eyes On The Prize 5:46 (James Bell)
5. Tomorrow Night 3:10 (Amos Blakemore, Embassy Music Corp., BMI)
6. So Hard To Leave You Alone 8:45 (Carey Bell Harrington, Leric Music, BMI)
7. What My Momma Told Me 3:02 (Amos Blakemore, Dimension Gate Music, BMI)
8. Woman In Trouble 6:08 (Carey Bell Harrington, Eyeball Music, BMI)
9. Carey Bell Was A Friend Of Mine 5:40 (William Branch, Billy Branch Music/World Orchard Publ., BMI)
10. Break It Up 3:35 (Walter Jacobs, Arc Music, BMI)
11. Heartaches And Pain 5:29 (Carey Bell Harrington, Leric Music, BMI)
12. When I Get Drunk 3:53 (Sample/Henderson/Vinson)

Produced by Steve Wagner and Dick Shurman
Album Production and Supervision: Robert G. Koester
Recorded at Riverside Studio, Chicago on September 13, 2017 by Steve Wagner
Mixed by Steve Wagner and Dave Katzman, confounded by Dick Shurman

Blues harmonica legend Carey Bell came of age musically after arriving in Chicago in the latter half of the 1950s. Which is to say, at a time when the giants of the genre still roamed the hallowed grounds of the Chicago blues scene, playing the clubs and taverns that dotted the landscape of the south and west sides. On a typical weeknight Carey could – and often did – catch Little Walter at the Zanzibar on the west side, or Muddy Waters at Smitty’s Corner on 35th St., or Howling Wolf at Sylvio’s on west Lake St., or countless other lesser-known blues artists at long-forgotten neighborhood bars throughout the city.

It was in this heady milieu that Carey forged his musical style. He’d picked up the rudiments of the harmonica while still down south, but didn’t make much headway as a musician until after he relocated to the big city. He picked up a little bit here, a little bit there, sometimes copying licks from the masters, filling in the gaps with his own imagination and creativity.

By the time of his debut album for Delmark Records in 1969, he’d developed a sound immediately identifiable as his own, even when treading the familiar ground of blues classics and standards that local blues audiences demanded. Along the way, he carved out his own place on the vibrant Chicago blues scene, and partnered with a wide array of fellow blues players who would become part of his inner circle, chief among them his harmonica mentor Big Walter Horton, and guitarist Eddie Taylor (who accompanied Bell on his Delmark debut.) Bell did a spell in the Muddy Waters Band, accompanied Big Walter on his first-ever album for Alligator Records, and probably without even realizing it or planning for it, ascended into the hierarchy of bona fide Chicago blues legends before his death in 2007 at the age of 70.

What makes a “legend”? One of the primary measures would have to be the gauge of one’s impact on others in the field who follow. By that yardstick, Carey Bell more than qualifies. And that impact cannot be made any more evident than by looking at his own family. Out of necessity or by fate, many of his offspring followed him into the family business. They have now gathered as the core band for this tribute to their talented dad, along with the son and namesake of Eddie Taylor who pays tribute here to his own father, completing the second-generation homage. The connections between the Taylors and Bells go back over a half a century, and Eddie Taylor, Jr.’s inclusion in this project is as perfect and natural a fit as the one between Carey and Eddie, Sr.

Best-known among Carey’s sons is his guitar-slinging son Lurrie C. Bell, who has gone on to his own fame in the blues field. Lurrie began making a name for himself with a deeply rooted but decidedly modern approach to blues guitar beginning in the late 1970s, and has now risen to his own position among modern Chicago blues legends. But Carey’s other sons have also established themselves as blues artists to be reckoned with. Steve Bell is a dynamic harmonica player who has thoroughly absorbed his father’s style, and added his own forward-leaning approach to the mix. Tyson Bell plays bass – an instrument his father sometimes doubled on when not leading his own bands. James Bell began playing drums behind his dad not long after he was able to sit up on a drum stool and hold the sticks, and was playing gigs in Chicago blues clubs before he was old enough to shave. (The first time I saw him he was on a gig with Magic Slim and The Teardrops at B.L.U.E.S in Chicago, and could barely be seen behind the drums – I’m not sure if he was officially a teenager yet!) Together, Carey’s kids began touring and recording with dad around 1990, and have worked on their own occasionally over the years as The Bell Dynasty. With this recording, they officially pay tribute to their patriarch for the first time.

Joining them for this historic occasion are several other musicians who have been part of the Bell story over the years. Harmonica player Billy Branch might be considered an honorary member of the Bell clan. Branch first came to international prominence in the late 1970s as a member of The Sons Of Blues, which he co-led with Lurrie Bell, and his music and career have often intertwined with Lurrie’s over the intervening years. Branch shares the harmonica duties with Steve Bell on this session in addition to taking a couple of vocals, and he also contributes the original “Carey Bell Was A Friend Of Mine”. Note how both Bell and Branch perform intertwining imitations of Carey’s style on this one – these are the only two harp players in the world who could pull this off and make it work so perfectly. And Billy also brought along his long-time pianist Sumito ‘Ariyo’ Ariyoshi, who ably fills the role that Pinetop Perkins played on Carey’s Delmark debut.

Also joining in is very special guest Charlie Musselwhite, who in some ways is more of a peer than a protégé of Carey’s. Musselwhite got to know Carey and hear his music countless times during the ‘60s when both men were establishing themselves in Chicago. Musselwhite contributes his signature harmonica to the bouncing “Got To Go”, a tune that was in Carey’s regular repertoire for most of his career.

Special mention should also be made of drummer James Bell’s vocals, featured prominently throughout this release. Although James is best known for his dynamic, spot-on blues drumming, he may arguably be the most expressive vocalist to emerge from the Bell family; if he ever decided to put down the drumsticks, he could make a name for himself as a stand-up front man.

It should also be noted that this tribute extends beyond confines of these recordings. Both Carey and his son Lurrie made their first full-length albums for Delmark Records; the 2018 Chicago Blues Festival will feature a main stage celebration of the 65th Anniversary of Delmark Records, and Lurrie and harp-playing brother Steve will be featured performers.

The Bell / Delmark connection comes full circle with this release. But whether the listener knows or cares about the fascinating backstory, this release stands on its own as an outstanding example of the best of Chicago Blues today.

-Scott Dirks

Other Delmark albums of interest:
Lurrie Bell, Can’t Shake This Feeling (847) Blues In My Soul (830)
Blues Had A Baby (736) Kiss of Sweet Blues (724)
700 Blues (700) Mercurial Son (679)
Carey & Lurrie Bell, Getting’ Up (791, DVD 1791)
Carey Bell, Heartaches And Pain (666) with Lurrie Bell
Carey Bell’s Blues Harp (622) with Eddie Taylor
It Ain’t Over, Delmark Celebrates 55 Years of Blues (800) with Lurrie Bell
Tail Dragger, My Head Is Bald, Live at Vern’s Friendly Tavern (782, DVD 1782)
With Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch
Demetria Taylor, Bad Girl (814) with Eddie Taylor, Billy Branch, Big Time Sarah

Send for free catalog of jazz & blues:
Delmark Records, 773 539 5002, 4121 N. Rockwell,
Chicago, IL 60618
CP 2018 Delmark Records

  • Members:
    Lurrie Bell, Steve Bell, Tyson Bell, James Bell
  • Sounds Like:
    Chicago blues
  • Influences:
    Delta blues
  • AirPlay Direct Member Since:
  • Profile Last Updated:
    08/15/23 13:33:58

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